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Full text of "An account of the Abipones, an equestrian people of Paraguay."




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AN 



ACCOUNT 



OP 



THE ABIPONES, 



AN EQUESTRIAN PEOPLE 



OF 



PARAGUAY. 



FROM THE LATIN OF MAHTIN DOBRIZHOFFER, 

EIGHTEEN YEAItS A MISSIONARY IN THAT CO^TNTRY. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. IIL 



LONDON: 
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 

1822. 



PART III. 




Chap. I. Of the deadly Hatred of the Abipones, and 
their Allies the Mocobios, towards the Spa- 
niards ........... Page 1 

II. By what Means the Abipones possessed themselves 

of Horses, and how formidable this Attainment 
rendered them to their Neighbours . . . 

III. Of the Violences committed upon the Cities Sta. 

Fe and Asumpcion 14 

IV. How much the Guarany Towns were annoyed by 

the Abipones 22 

V. Of the Achievements of the Abipones in the Lands 

belonging to the City of Corrientes ... 29 

VI. Of the Excursions of the Abipones against the 

Colonies of St. lago del Estero .... 44 

VII. Of the Expeditions of Francisco Barreda, General 

of the St. lagans, against the Abipones and Mo- 
cobios 55 

VIII. Of certain Defects in the Soldiers of St. lago, of 
their Companies, arid of the Degrees of Military 
Rank amongst them ..66 

a2 



11 !'i 



IV CONTENTS. 

IX. Of the Atrocities of the Abipones towards the 

People of Cordoba 77 

X. Of the fruitless Excursions of the Cordobans 

against the Abipones 94 

XI. Of the frequent Endeavours of the Jesuits in 

reducing the Abipones to Obedience under the 
King of Spain and converting them to the Ca- 
tholic Religion 102 

XII. A Colony founded for the Mocobios afterwards 

the occasion of Abiponian Colonies . .113 

XIII. The first Colony of St. Jeronymo, founded for 
the Abipones Riikahes 128 

XIV. Some things worthy of note respecting Ychoa- 
lay and Oaherkaikin 141 

XV. Further Praises of Ychoalay 153 

XVI. Concerning the Hostile Incursion attempted by 
Debayakaikin and his savage Confederates against 
the Town of St. Jeronymo l63 

XVII. Concerning repeated Expeditions undertaken 
by Ychoalay against Oaherkaikin, and the other 
Abipones Nakaiketergehes . . . . .170 

XVIII. Of fresh Disturbances of the Town arising 
from the Victory gained by the Inhabitants 177 

XIX. Ychoalay, in Conjunction with the Spaniards, 
takes a Company of hostile Abipones, and on 
another occasion, fights successfully with Oaher- 
kaikin 183 

XX. The whole Nation of Abipones are assembled in 

three Colonies, but are again unluckily dis- 
turbed by a War of the Spaniards against the 
Guaranies 194 

XXI. An ineffectual Expedition of the Spaniards 
against the Abipones 202 



CONTENTS. V 

XXII. The Cacique Debayakaikin slain by Ychoalay 
in battle, and his Head suspended from a 
Gibbet 207 

XXIII. The Origin and Commencement of a Colony 
of Abipones, named from the Conception of the 
Divine Mother 213 

XXIV. The Flight of the Abipones from the Town of 
Conception and their Return to it ... 220 

XXV. The Vicissitudes and Disturbances of the Co- 
lony 227 

XXVI. My Journey to St. lago on business pertaining 
to the Colony 235 

XXVII. My Stay at the City of St. lago. The Visit 
of our Cacique, Alaykin, to the Governor of 
Salta 240 

XXVIII. My disastrous Return to our Colony . 245 

XXIX. The perpetual Disturbances of the Town of 
Conception 254 

XXX. The Arrival of Barreda, and the removal of 
the Town to the banks of the Salado . . 262 

XXXI. The Calamities and perpetual Mutations of 
the New Colony at the River Salado . .271 

XXXII. A Colony inhabited by the Yaaukaniga Abi- 
pones, an^ distinguished by the Name of St. 
Ferdinand and St. Francis ...... 278 

XXXIII. Progress of the Town of St. Ferdinand, 
which was retarded by Debayakaikin . . 285 

XXXIV. Fresh Disturbances, caused both by Stran- 
gers, and by the Inhabitants themselves . . 292 

XXXV. The Origin and Situation of a Colony of Abi- 
pones named from S. Carlos and the Rosary 303 

XXXVI. Commencement of the Colony . . , 309 



VI CONTENTS. 

XXXVII. Extreme Indigence of the Colony, and its 
various Calamities 3l6 

XXXVIII. Continual Tumults of War . . .323 

XXXIX. Various Incursions of the Mocobios and 
Tobas 329 

XL. Small-pox the Origin of many Calamities and 
bloody Attacks .... . . • . . 337 

XLI. Four Hundred Spanish Horsemen, in conjunc- 
tion with the Abipones, overcome a numerous 
Horde of Tobas 346 

XLII. Anxiety of the Abipones concerning the Re- 
venge of the Tobas. Contagion of the Tertian 
Fever . 355 

XLIII. An Assault of Six Hundred Savages on the 
Second of August 362 

XLIV. Corollary to the Events detailed in the pre- 
ceding Chapter » . . . 374 

XLV. How arduous a Task it is to persuade the Abi- 
pones to enter Colonies, and to embrace the Re- 
ligion of Christ 388 

XLVI. No trifling Advantages derived from the Abi- 
ponian Colonies, though fewer than were ex- 
pected 403 



HISTORY 



OF 



THE ABIPONES, 



PART III. 



CHAPTER I. 



OF TPIE DEADLY HATRED OF THE ABIPONES, AND THEIR, 
ALLIES THE MOCOBIOS, TOWARDS THE SPANIARDS. 

The Spaniards subdued, in great measure^ 
the Indian natives of Paraguay, sometimes by- 
means of soldiers, but oftener by that of priests, 
who, unarmed, could penetrate where a soldier 
found no access. The former effected more 
with their beads, than the latter with their bul- 
lets. In the next century, however, the Abi- 
pones, grown more contumacious, would neither 
be conciliated by gifts, nor subdued by arms. 
They would not receive the Spaniards as their 
friends, still less as their masters, and lest 
conquered they should experience them as 
enemies, they consulted their liberty, now 

VOL. III. B 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



jfighting, now flying, as need required, some- 
times availing themselves of arms, oftener of 
cunning and swiftness. The places of resi- 
dence which they had chosen were fortified by 
nature, and afforded them protection against 
the forces of the Spaniards, so dreaded in the 
open field. They could not be conquered, be- 
cause they could not be attacked, whilst de- 
fended by ditches and impervious woods, chiefly 
before they were possessed of horses. They had 
rather endure hunger, thirst, and concealment, 
than obey strangers. They resolutely refused 
to admit the king of the Spaniards, and the law 
of God — to-wit, their own happiness. It is cer- 
tain that, from the age of Charles V., who united 
the noblest parts of America to his own Spain, 
the Abipones persisted in defending their liberty 
for upwards of two centuries, even when all 
the neighbouring nations had yielded to the foe. 
Nor were they satisfied with obstinately re- 
fusing the friendship of the Spaniards, but, in- 
tent upon every opportunity of doing mischief, 
overran the whole province with hostile arms. 
Whenever I think of the slaughters committed 
by the Abipones in the latter part of that cen- 
tury, I imagine that these savages, and their 
allies the Mocobios and Tobas, were reserved 
by an avenging God to punish the evil deeds 
of the Christians, as formerly the Philistines, 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 3 

Jebusites, and Perizzites, in the land of Ca- 
naan, were preserved by the interposition of 
the Almighty, to curb the rebellious Jews, 
whilst all their other enemies were either de- 
stroyed or reduced to subjection. 

Moreover they made a warlike alliance with 
the Mocobios and Tobas, equestrian savages, 
formidable by their numbers and resolution. 
Scarcely any memorable slaughter occurred in 
which these confederated nations did not join ; 
to this they were incited by their unanimous 
hatred of the Europeans, the certain hope of 
booty, and their common desire of military 
glory. The Mocobios were never reckoned 
inferior to the Abipones either in stature, or in 
military skill ; but I boldly affirm that, in atro- 
city and steady hatred to the Spaniards, they 
exceed them. Certainly in the last century 
they seemed to conspire to the ruin of Tucu- 
man; proving themselves formidable, not to 
sohtary estates merely, but to whole cities. 
The province was devastated by slaughter, 
rapine, and fire : Salta, Xuxui, the city of St. 
Miguel, and Cordoba, were reduced to despe- 
ration, and Estecco, formerly an opulent city, 
quite ruined. The city of Concepcion was 
rased to the ground, the inhabitants having 
been treacherously massacred. History does 
not inform us whether the Abipones were par- 

B 2 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



takers with the Mocobios in these numerous 
and bloody excursions. Alonzo Mercado, An- 
gelo de Paredo, and other Governours of Tu- 
cuman, withstood, indeed, the efforts of the 
savages, and conducted as many soldiers as 
they could muster, either Spaniards or Indian 
Christians, into Chaco, to besiege the fastnesses 
of the savages, but by a journey always diffi- 
cult, and seldom recompensed by success; 
for, although they sometimes took and slew 
some of the Mocobios and Tobas in their hordes, 
yet the survivors, enraged by the loss of their 
companions, redoubled their fury, never ceasing 
to employ their strength, which was equal to 
their anger, in revenge ; and success always 
crowned their wishes. Several fruitless expe- 
ditions of the Tucuman forces confirmed the 
opinion of the savages, that the arms of the 
Spaniards were not to be feared by them, and 
that they were sufficiently guarded in their lurk- 
ing-places, which were either unknown to the 
Spaniards, or inaccessible to them ; but that if, 
peradventure, they were overcome by numbers, 
they might reckon upon a victory in flight, op- 
portunities for which were afforded them by 
their knowledge of the country, and by their 
dexterity in swimming and riding : whilst the 
Spaniards, with horses fatigued by a long rough 
journey, and encumbered by the length of 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



their clothes and of their arms, could with diffi- 
culty pursue the fugitives, especially if marshes, 
rivers, and trackless woods intervened. Em- 
boldened by these considerations, they left 
nothing unattempted against Tucuman. Salta, 
the residence of the Governour, and other 
places surrounding it, were exposed to the 
daily assaults of the savages. 

Estevan Urizar, when he came from Spain 
to govern the province, endeavoured to devise 
a remedy for the public calamity. He pro- 
posed an expedition against Chaco ; seventeen 
hundred and eighty countrymen were chosen 
to attend it out of all Tucuman, beside five 
hundred Indian Christians, who were increased 
by a troop of Chiriguanos, at that time allies. 
Add to these, five hundred from the city of 
Asumpcion, three hundred from Sta. F^, and 
two hundred from Corrientes. In short, such 
an army was raised that the savages were sur- 
rounded on all sides. The Tucuman soldiers 
were ordered to explore the retreats of the 
savages, and put them to death ; the other. 
Spaniards, who dwelt nearer the south, to pre- 
vent their escape by blocking up the roads: 
and if as much diligence had been employed in 
the execution of the project as good poHcy in 
the planning of it, the whole swarm of savages 
in Chaco would have been entirely subdued, 

B 3 



6* 



HISTORY OF THE A Bl PONES. 



But of the Spanish soldiers who were called 
from the southern colonies, some delayed, 
others deserted, so that towards the south, a 
way lay open to the Mocobios, who escaped, 
without hindrance, on every side, and took 
refuge in the hordes of the Abipones. But as 
they did not consider this situation at a suf- 
ficient distance from the attacks of the Spani- 
ards, both people secretly removed into the 
vale of Calchacui. On this account Saita and 
the upper parts of Tucuman were relieved, for 
some years, from the attacks of the Mocobios, 
but all the storm of the war fell on the cities 
Sta. F^, St. lago del Estero, Corrientes, and 
the other Spanish colonies situate to the south- 
west. That the Malbalaes, deserted by the 
Mocobios their greatest supporters, accepted, 
or feigned to accept, the friendship of the Spa- 
niards ; that the Vilelas and Chunipies agreed 
upon a peace ; that the Lules were assembled 
in a town at Miraflores, and there instructed 
in the holy religion by Father Antonio Machoni, 
were the advantages which resulted from this 
great expedition : but, though considerable, they 
fell far below the wishes and expectations of 
the Spaniards. 



i:l! 



mSTOllY OF THE ABITONES. 



CHAPTER II. 

BY WHAT MEANS THE ABIPONES POSSESSED THEMSELVES 
OF HORSES. AND HOW FORMIDABLE THIS ATTAIN- 
MENT RENDERED THEM TO THEIR NEIGHBOURS. 

History gives no account of the proceedings 
of the Abipones in the fifteenth century, before 
they settled in Chaco ; but I should imagine 
that, being at that time, like the other Indians, 
unfurnished with horses, they passed their 
lives in ignoble obscurity, more anxious to 
avoid, than to attack the Spaniards. It appears 
from the annals of Paraguay, that in the year 
1641, they possessed horses, and were become 
dexterous in the management of them. We 
read also, that they made war about this time 
upon the Mataras, whom, on account of their 
submission to the Spaniards, they pursued 
with unrelenting hatred. Moreover the Abi- 
pones became formidable to the pedestrian 
nations on account of their reputation for horse- 
manship. 

But do you ask me how the Abipones first 
obtained horses ? I will tell you what I learnt 
from an Abipon, an hundred years of age. He 
informed me that some of his ancestors, before 

b4 



8 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



they had obtained these useful animals, used 
to go privily to the lands belonging to the city 
of Sta. F^, and steal a few horses, with some 
iron knives. They afterwards made use of 
these horses for the purpose of driving fresh 
herds from the lands of the Spaniards. It 
frequently happens that horses, tormented by 
insects or frightened by tigers, stray to the 
distance of many leagues. The men appointed 
to guard the cattle, (if there be any,) are 
mostly few and unarmed, always timorous, and 
can easily be slain whilst absent from their 
huts, or eluded whilst they are sleeping. 

In the space of fifty years, an hundred thou-^ 
sand horses were driven from the estates of 
the Spaniards, by the Abipones. Do not 
imagine that I have exaggerated the number, 
for, calculating from conjecture, I should say 
it exceeded two hundred thousand, and no 
wonder : for young men of the nation of the 
Abipones often carried off four thousand horses 
in one assault, and as they grew in years, they 
increased their robberies. Cunning and a little 
sagacity are more requisite than strength. The 
Calchacuis, after they had afflicted the country 
about Sta. F^ with reiterated slaughters, were 
at last reduced to order in one conflict. Those 
who survived that overthrow were almost all 
cut off by the small-pox. The miserable 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



9 



remains of this most warlike nation are yet 
living by the river Carcaraiial, and are rec- 
koned at about tv^enty people. The Abipones 
settled in the land formerly possessed by the 
Calchacuis, inheriting not their country alone, 
but also their hostile disposition towards the 
Spaniards. They took possession of all th^ 
land from the river Plata to the city of 
Sta. Fh, and from the banks of the Parana 
and Paraguay to the territories of St. lago, 
the Spaniards vainly endeavouring to oppose 
them, and obliged to part with their ancient 
station, or maintain it with the loss of their 
lives. In the eighteenth year of this century, 
even women might go, without danger, from 
the city of Sta. F^, and thence to Cordoba, 
though it is a journey of many days, even 
to horse travellers. That all things were safe 
and out of danger of the enemy may be 
concluded from the numerous estates of the 
Spaniards, which are continued all along the 
roads from the above-mentioned cities, but 
were afterwards so depopulated by the per- 
petual hostilities of the Abipones, that the 
ruins of these dilapidated buildings are now 
alone to be seen. 

The country over which, as their own, the 
Abipones freely wander, extends an hundred 
and twenty leagues from North to South, and 




10 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



as many from East to West, in many places. 
They are divided into hordes, according to the 
number of the Caciques, and frequently remove 
their tents, choosing that situation which is 
rendered most eligible by the season, security, 
and the opportunity it affords of hunting. 
Having removed their women, children, and 
decrepit old men to a place of safety, the rest 
sallied forth, to plunder the surrounding colo- 
nies of the Christians, and always returned 
laden with heads of Spaniards, and other 
spoils. The crowd of captives, the droves of 
horses, and the success of the expedition 
incited others to the like daring, so that when 
one party returned, another quickly succeeded. 
Scarce a month passed in which they did 
not disturb the Spanish colonies with some 
hostile attack ; and although one place alone 
was invaded, the whole neighbourhood trem- 
bled the more, the safer things appeared. For 
experience had taught them, that enemies of 
that kind are never nearer than when they 
are thought to be at the greatest distance. 

It is certainly difficult to understand by what 
means about a thousand savages (for the 
whole nation of the Abipones hardly contained 
more who were able to bear arms) had the 
power of disturbing an immense province. 
Unanimous hatred of the Spaniards, craft, 



HISTOllY OF THE ABIPONES. 



11 



tolerance of labour, and the alliance of the 
Mocobios stood them in the stead of numbers. 
Barreda, commander at St. lago, repeatedly- 
affirmed, that were he to hear that all the Abi- 
pones had been slain, ten only surviving, he 
should still judge it necessary to have the 
watch continued in every part of Paraguay. 
He therefore thought one tally of Abipones 
sufficient to distress a whole province. There 
was no retreat so sequestered that they did 
not discover, and furiously overrun ; no place 
so remote or well fortified by nature, that they 
thought impenetrable. They swam across 
those vast rivers the Parana and Paraguay, 
even where they are united in one channel, 
and pleasantly conversing at the same time. 
They rode over vast precipices, sometimes 
ascending, and sometimes, which was still more 
frightful, descending, till they reached the 
confines of Cordoba and St. lago, and there, 
alas! what torrents of blood they caused to 
flow ! Trackless woods full of rushes and thick 
trees, marshes, and lakes rendered slippery 
with mud, they crossed with ease. That 
immense plain of an hundred and fifty leagues, 
which lies between the banks of the Parana 
and the Salado, is sometimes flooded to such a 
degree, that it resembles a vast lake ; this 
happens after long and incessant rain ; but 






12 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Hi 



fm'i 



when, as is often the case, no rain falls for 
many months, that immense tract of land is so 
parched by the burning sky, that the smallest 
bird would fail to find a drop of water there. 

The Abipones, regardless of these impedi- 
ments, arrived at the dwellings of the Spani^ 
ards, whom they intended to kill or rob, by a 
journey of many days, sometimes having to 
pass through water, at others entirely destitute 
of it. I have frequently attempted the jour- 
ney, both with Spaniards and Abipones, who 
have now laid aside their former enmity : the 
latter scorned to turn back, swearing that they 
might easily cross the deepest marshes on 
horseback, whilst the others declared them 
impassable. None of the Abipones would 
shrink from a journey of three hundred leagues 
or more, were he attracted by the hope of 
richer booty, or greater military glory; for 
neither the difficulty of the roads, nor the 
distance of the places, are sufficient to deter 
them. 

As many nations worship the crocodile, the 
snake, and the ape, as divinities, the Abipones' 
would adore their horses, if idolatry prevailed 
amongst them. Nor is it unreasonable in them 
to set a high value upon horses, by the use 
of which they have become formidable and 
destructive to the Spanish colonists. The 



.«. %:r 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



13 



pedestrian savages, though they may entertain 
the same wish of annoying the Spaniards, 
have not the same opportunity, and conse- 
quently employ their arms more for their own 
defence than for the offence of the Spaniards. 
I shall now proceed to relate, individually, the 
slaughters committed in various parts of the 
province. 




14 



HISTORY OF THE ABI PONES. 



■ m 



CHAPTER III. 

OF THE VIOLENCES COMMITTED UPON THE CITIES 
STA. FE AND ASUMPCION. 

The Abipones sometimes alone, sometimes in 
conjunction with the Mocobios, distressed the 
City of Sta. F^, which lay nearest them, with ' 
daily incursions, and very nearly destroyed it. 
Many of the country people were slain, and not 
a few led into captivity. Numbers, fearing that 
the same fortune awaited them, migrated, with 
their families, into safer places. Things came 
to such an extremity, that the inhabitants 
began to deliberate publicly about deserting 
the city. Amongst many others, the rich es"^ 
tate of St. Antonio was entirely ruined. In- 
numerable cattle, of every description, were 
seized and dispersed, and their owners slain. 
The waggons were plundered of the goods 
which they contained. When the security 
of trade, the only source of riches, was de"- 
stroyed at one blow, what could ensue but 
famine and scarcity? The roads were so 
beset with savages, both by day and by night, 
that no one could stir out of his own house 
with safety, or fetch provisions from the coun- 
try for the use of the city. The citizens 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



15 



themselves were kept in daily fear, they so 
often beheld troops of Abipones and Mocobios 
in their streets. The very market-place was 
stained with the blood of the unarmed. In 
the year 1754, on the 10th of April, as I was 
revisiting this city, a noble matron, venerable 
for her years, and ancient family, accosted me, 
saying, *' Oh ! Fathers, what gratitude do we 
owe to you, who have tamed these ferocious 
nations, on whose account we hardly dared 
to breathe for so many years ! I scarcely ever 
remember this week," pursued she, " namely 
the last in Lent, passed without slaughters in 
this city. When a pious crowd of supplicants 
passed in procession through the streets, how 
often did the armed savages rush on them, like 
lightning! And they seldom departed without 
bloody hands. I still have to lament a bro- 
ther, slain as he trimmed the altar, in the .court 
before those buildings ; such was the face of 
affairs at that time. For the tranquillity and 
security, which we at present enjoy, we are 
indebted to you, by whom the Abipones and 
Mocobios have been appeased and civilized." 

In that city, there was no want of intrepid 
men, to repel force by force ; but the rest, who 
were deficient in vigilance, courage, and skill, 
were exposed to the continual violence of the 
savages, who never granted either peace or 
truce. Auxiliary bands of foot-soldiers were 





16 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOx^ES. 



t ;il 



sent by the Governour of Buenos-Ayres to the 
relief of the fainting city; but these, when they 
came to close fighting in the field of battle, 
served rather to excite the laughter of the 
Abipones, than to render any service to the 
Spaniards. Whilst affairs were in this de- 
sperate condition, like a propitious star shining 
forth in a furious tempest, appeared Echague, 
an excellent man, who in the name of the 
Governour, and under his authority, repressed 
the boldness of the savages. He knew 
how to conciliate their ferocious minds with 
gifts, to intimidate them with arms, or to 
repress them with frequent incursions. By 
these means he procured the city a little re- 
spite. But this tranquillity continued no longer 
than the life of its author : his successors ex- 
perienced various fortune, the Indians some- 
times renewing their former plunderings, some- 
times promising peace, in order that they might 
be enabled to direct their whole force against 
the other cities of the Spaniards, and in that of 
Sta. Fe, then friendly, exchange the spoils 
gained from them, for knives, swords, spears, 
axes, glass-beads, and wearing apparel. This 
was admirable policy in the savages, that, 
whilst they carried on war with the rest of the 
province, they diligently maintained peace 
with one city, where they might purchase the 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



17 



necessary supply of arms and other utensils^ 
by the booty obtained elsewhere. I learnt 
many things of this traffic with the Indians, 
some worthy of laughter, but more which 
deserve indignation. Take this one instance. 
An Abipon entered the city of Sta. F^, in time 
of peace, carrying on his horse a leathern 
bag containing two thousand Spanish crowns. 
A certain noble Spaniard, who happened to 
be walking in the market-place at the time, 
doubtless very well acquainted with the con- 
tents of the bag, offered him the red cloak 
which he wore ; the Indian, transported with 
joy, gave him in exchange the whole weight 
of silver which he had plundered a little 
before from the waggons laden with Peru- 
vian money. Great part of the Mocobios 
and Tobas, and most of the Abipones, being 
persuaded to a peace, and conducted to the 
various colonies which we had founded, this 
miserable city at last enjoyed a little rest, 
although the estates were not entirely free from 
danger ; for the savages of these nations, weary 
of peace, lay in wait for droves of horses, but 
more in the way of plundering than of regular 
warfare. To restrain these pillagers, a Spanish 
company of horse was maintained at the public 
cost, and, headed by Miguel Ziburro, proved 
very useful in deterring them from their de- 

VOL. III. c 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



predations. Three places, in particular, were 
the resorts of the savages, and the scenes of 
their robberies. La cruz alta. El pozzo redon- 
do, and the estate of St. Thomas ; in the one 
place there is a passage across the river Salado 
to the city, in the other a high way with wag- 
gons of traders continually passing to and fro. 
The estates also which look towards Chaco 
were endangered. The extensive province of 
Asumpcion, although it abounds in warlike 
colonists, was incredibly harassed by the arms 
of the Abipones and Mocobios. Who can 
enumerate the men that were slain, the horses 
and mules that were seized, the villages that 
were burnt, the estates that were depopulated, 
and the numbers of unarmed that were led 
into captivity? Not only on the banks of the 
Paraguay, but also in places far distant from 
that liver, many and great slaughters were 
committed with impunity. This captaincy of 
Paraguay is of greater extent than the rest, 
yet it seems too small for the number of 
colonists. It contains as many soldiers as 
men, but they are scattered up and down the 
country, many leagues distant from one an- 
other, occupied, greatest part of the year, in 
remote forests where they prepare the herb of 
Paraguay, or on the banks of rivers, or in de- 
fending little fortifications of the province. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



19 



These edifices, which are constructed of stakes, 
mud, and straw, on the eastern shore of the 
Paraguay, are more properly watch-towers 
for observing the motions of the enemy, than 
fortifications for keeping them out. The few 
who are stationed in each of the fortlets sig- 
nify the approach of the enemy by firing a 
cannon ; this is repeated by the neighbouring 
sentinels, that every one, admonished of the 
danger, may provide for his own safety; that 
the Governour (for the firing, as it is repeated 
in all the difi"erent stations, at last reaches the 
city) may order convenient succours ; and that 
all the forces may assemble in arms wherever 
suspicion is entertained of the enemy. But 
how much time is consumed whilst the horses 
are caught and made ready, whilst the few 
soldiers assemble in arms, and whilst their 
leader is expected ! In the mean time slaugh- 
ters are already committed, estates rifled, vil- 
lages burnt, and the savages departed as 
quickly as they came. But if a tardy com- 
pany of Spaniards is at length brought together, 
they are more rejoiced at the flight of the 
enemy than desirous of pursuing them. And 
supposing the savages to be still in sight, or at 
no great distance, the generals of Paraguay, un- 
less they see themselves greatly superior in 
point of numbers, seldom dare to trust the. 

c 2 




20 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



doubtful fortune of war, by a bold attack; 
foreseeing that they shall be loaden with re- 
proaches, and perhaps assaulted with stones 
by the wives of those who might be slain in 
the skirmish. Sometimes the Spanish horse- 
men were clamorously eager to pursue the 
flying savages, but the generals repressed their 
ardour, even threatening pain of death to any 
who should dare to challenge or pursue the 
enemy. 

It has always appeared quite miraculous to 
me, that the province of Asumpcion did not at 
length sink under the weight of the powerful 
enemies by whom it was combated for so 
many years. On one side was the dreadful 
neighbourhood of the ferocious Guaycurus 
and Mbayas ; on the other the daily assaults of 
the Abipones, Mocobios, and Tobas occasioned 
much danger and fatigue to the surrounding 
colonies. Add to these the Payaguas, most 
perfidious pirates, more dangerous in peace 
than in war : not to mention the wood-savages, 
the Monteses, Montarrazes, or Caayguas, who, 
though not always openly hostile to the Para- 
guayrian Spaniards, whilst they prepared the 
herb of Paraguay in woods far distant from 
the city, are full of enmity towards them, and 
justly suspected of unsound faith. See! how 
many nations threatened the Spanish colonists. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



21 



Two to one is odds against Hercules. We may 
justly call the Paraguay rians greater than Her- 
cules, because they held out against so many 
enemies. 



!' 



1 



c3 




22 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER IV. 

HOW MUCH THE GUARANY TOWNS WERE ANNOYED BY 

THE ABIPONES. 

The Abipones thought they had done nothing, 
till they directed their attention towards over- 
throwing the towns of the Guaranies, whom they 
regarded with implacable hatred, because, being 
converted by us to the Roman Catholic religion, 
they not only paid obedience to the Catholic 
King as subjects, but also served him as soldiers 
in the camp, whenever they were called upon 
by the Royal Governours. The towns of the 
Guaranies, and the other estates, which are near 
the banks of the Paraguay and Parana, for many 
years, were daily more and more exposed to the 
fury and rapacity of the enemy. Innumerable 
were the Indians that were cruelly massacred, 
the cattle of every description that were driven 
away, and the youths that were made captive. 
Many were burnt in their own houses, where 
they hid themselves for fear of the swords of 
the enemy. The town of St. Ignatius Guazu, 
formerly in a very flourishing state, lost much 
of its splendor, and was very nearly destroyed; 
for it was situated in a place which affords an 



HISTORY OF THE 7\BI PONES. 



23 



excellent opportunity for stratagems to the 
savages, who hide themselves in the adjacent 
woods, whence they can easily sally forth, 
and soon reach the estate and the town itself. 
Scarcely a month passed without murder and 
robberies. It is incredible how much the num- 
ber of men and cattle was diminished by their 
continual incursions. Although a watch was 
kept up by day and by nighty no one durst pro- 
mise himself security. The craftiness or bold- 
ness of the x4bipones eluded all the vigilance and 
industry of the inhabitants. On some holy-day, 
when the people were attending divine service, 
a great crowd of savages burst into the very 
market-place. The inhabitants seized and threw 
at the aggressors whatever weapons were at 
hand. The Christians fought with more valour 
than success. The chief men of the city, and 
more than thrcQ hundred senators, beside many 
others of the common people, fell fighting before 
the door of the church. A great many of the 
Abipones were slain and wounded. The Gua- 
ranies took a Spaniard, who had grown up 
amongst the Abipones, having been taken cap- 
tive by them at an early period of his life, and 
who had offered to be their leader in this as in 
many other expeditions. What must have been 
the feelings of the Jesuit priest, Francisco Ma- 
ria Rasponi Bergomas, long curate of the town, 

c4 



*;} 



i1 



fi 



:■ 



f: 




24 



HISTORY OF THE ABI PONES. 



ril 



■ : 



when, on looking out of the church before he 
had taken off his sacred robes, he perceived the 
heaps of dead bodies, and the streets swimmino- 
with blood? Who can express his horror? 
This bloody fight elated the minds of the Abi- 
pones, in proportion as those of the Guaranies 
were depressed by it. With greater boldness 
and frequency, they continued to slaughter the 
Indians, and to seize the cattle, both in the 
estate, and in the fields adjoining the city. In 
one day, four thousand oxen and immense 
droves of horses became the prey of these ra- 
pacious thieves. Let not those that read this 
accuse the Fathers who presided over the town 
of sloth or inactivity : nothing was omitted by 
them which seemed advisable for the security 
of their people. Ail access was forbidden the 
enemy by means of ditches and palisades, and 
additional guards armed with muskets. Scouts 
were dispatched every day to explore the roads. 
Sentinels were placed in suspected situations, 
as in a watch-tower. But what did all this 
avail ? Those who were commanded to watch 
and to guard behaved as usual : danger was 
frequently the nearest when every thing was 
thought in the utmost security. They said their 
accustomed Namaraichene, " we shall be safe," 
and when they felt drowsy, slept without care 
or apprehension. Thence it often happened that 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



25 



whilst they ought to have watched for the public 
safety, unmindful even of their own, they were 
surprized and slaughtered by the Abi pones. In 
the town of St. lago, while the people were at- 
tending divine service, the Abipones came, and 
of the many hundred who were keeping watch, 
part they slew, and part they led into captivity, 
having, at the first onset, carried off some hun- 
dred horses. As numerous bloody incursions 
were repeated within sight of the same town, few 
days passed without fears, or alarming reports. 
The same fate befel Nuestra Senhora de F^ for 
many years; on which account Juan Baptista 
Marquiseti, a man of our order, and curate of the 
place, surrounded it on all sides with ditches 
to keep out the savage horsemen, and supplied 
the Indians with a sufficient quantity of muskets : 
and his labours were amply repaid, for at 
length these tumults abated. Forty Indian 
soldiers sent from this town, and as many from 
the town of Sta. Rosa, to keep guard over their 
respective estates, perished on the fifth of Feb- 
ruary, a very few only escaping by the swiftness 
of their horses. On that day, alas! how great 
was the loss of horses and mules in both estates! 
Some thousands were driven away. In another 
place, a quantity of the herb of Paraguay, be- 
longing to a Spanish merchant, was conveyed 
in many waggons from the town of Sta. Rosa to 



I 




26 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the banks of the Parana, by Guaranies ; to 
whom was given, as a superintendent and 
guard, a certain Spaniard, an active man, armed 
with seven excellent muskets; but without 
having time allowed him for loading any 
of them, he was surrounded by a troop of 
Abipones, and slain, with almost all the Indians, 
except two, and a crowd of horses and oxen! 
Fifty dead bodies were found lying on the field. 
I have thought proper to relate those slaugh- 
ters which were most recently committed 
whilst I was in the country ; for it would be 
endless to describe, individually, all which the 
Guaranies suffered in the space of so many 
years. The poor wretches, half dead at the 
remembrance of them, whenever they had an 
engagement with the Abipones, seemed to think 
more of undergoing death, than of inflicting it. 
This very fear of the Guaranies stimulated the 
Abipones to fresh pillaging, in proportion as it 
increased their confidence of victory ; so that 
on an approaching fight, like the Spartans, they 
did not enquire how many the Guaranies were, 
but where. The terror of the Guaranies being 
perceived by the Royal Governour, some Spa- 
nish soldiers were hired, at his advice, and 
ordered to traverse the roads on horseback, 
for the security of their towns, to watch the 
march of the savages, and to repel them, or at 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



27 



least apprize the inhabitants of their arrival. 
But the sagacity of the Abipones out-witted 
the vigilance of the Spanish horsemen, and 
their assaults were repeated with the same fre- 
quency as before, although with greater caution. 
In consequence therefore of the little benefit 
and great inconvenience which the towns de- 
rived from these guards, who were supported 
by them at a great expense, they were permit- 
ted to return home. But the savages were 
not always suffered to ravage with impunity. 
They not unfrequently atoned for the deaths of 
others by their own. Sometimes, as they were 
meditating an attack, they were discovered 
and repulsed. Sometimes they were overtaken 
in precipitate flight by the Guaranies, by whom 
they were very roughly handled, and obliged 
to relinquish their booty. The Guaranies 
might oftener have triumphed over the Abi- 
pones, would they have preserved their lives by 
keeping strict watch. Vigilance, as I have 
often observed, is the best armour against the 
savages. You will wonder, in reading this, that 
the Guaranies were such timid hares at home, 
when they are described by historians to have 
fought like lions in the royal camps, against the 
Portugueze, and even against the savages. They 
behaved nobly in the king's service, because 
they were governed by Spanish generals. At 




28 



HISTORY OF THE y^BIPOXES. 



home, when left to themselves, they did but 
little against the savages. They are swayed 
by the impulse of the moment, and consequently 
fulfil the duties neither of good soldiers, nor of 
good generals. They are indeed robust mem- 
bers, but they languish for want of a head. 
Even the best soldiers, without an able leader, 
must despair of victory, as the strongest ship, 
wanting a proper pilot and rudder, must give 
up all hopes of reaching port. The sword with 
which Scanderbeg slew thousands of Turks, 
wielded by a feeble hand, would scarcely 
wound the outermost skin of the enemy. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



29 



CHAPTER V. 

OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ABIPONES IN THE LANDS 
BELONGING TO THE CITY OF CORRIENTES. 

The city Corrientes is situated towards the 
East, on the shore where the rivers Parana 
and Paraguay are united. I have mentioned 
this and many other remarkable circumstances 
respecting the city Corrientes, in the Intro- 
ductory book. The Royal Vice-Governour 
of the city has some colonies of Spaniards 
and Indians. under his authority^ in an exten- 
sive and fertile territory ; though he can scarce- 
ly raise three hundred colonists able to bear 
arms; who would be quite unequal to repul- 
sing the savages, did not their military valour 
compensate for the want of numbers. For 
many years they have had to contend with 
the Payaguas, who practise piracy, with the 
Charruas, equestrian savages, and in Chaco 
towards the West, with the Abipones, Moco- 
bios, Tobas, and Guaycurus. The Abipones, 
called Yaaukanigas, roam over the opposite 
shore, being only separated from the city by 
the river Parana, which, however, proves no 
obstacle to their access ; for though it is of a 





30 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



m 



great width, they easily swim across it, in the 
very sight of the city. Allured by this facility, 
it is incredible with what frequent incursions 
they ravaged the territories of Corrientes. It 
is true, that, in former times, they had for a 
short time maintained peace with that city, in 
order that they might there exchange the 
spoils collected from the other Spanish colo- 
nies, for necessary articles. These being their 
dispositions, they were kindly received in their 
frequent visits by the inhabitants, and even en- 
tertained as guests by the Vice-Governour. 
Of the number of the Abiponian guests was 
the Cacique Chilome, who, for some unknown 
cause, went privily, in the dead of the night, to 
the house of the Vice-Governour; which afford- 
ed the Spaniards occasion to suspect, that the 
savages were meditating to surprize the city, 
and that they were waiting for supplies on the 
opposite bank of the river to aid them in exe- 
cuting their project. This report being spread, 
all the people assembled. The Cacique and 
his companions were slain that night, by the 
terrified and tumultuous throng. This murder 
was the occasion of much bloodshed, and the 
beginning of a most furious war. 

The Abipones, when informed of this deed 
of the Spaniards, exclaimed that Chilome was 
unjustly slain, swore to avenge so great an 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



31 



injury, and did in effect employ all their 
strength, anger, and cunning in punishing the 
inhabitants of Corrientes, having called to their 
assistance the Mocobios and Tobas. The citi- 
zens passed few weeks without slaughters, 
not a day without alarms. Stricken with the 
fear of death, they grew weary of a life they 
knew not how to preserve, the calamity grow- 
ing heavier day by day, inasmuch as fewer 
soldiers remained, numbers being slain in daily 
skirmishes with the enemy. The miserable 
remnant, struck with consternation at the fate 
of their comrades, became readier to fly the 
savages, than to put them to flight. The 
whole country was filled with perturbation and 
slaughter. The estates and settlements near 
the Parana frequently suffered from the fury 
and rapacity of the enemy. The little town of 
Sta. Lucia is about fifty leagues distant from 
the city, and inhabited by a few unwarlike 
Indians; in consequence of which it was inces- 
santly molested by the savages. An Indian 
messenger came from that town and informed 
the Vice-Governour Ceballos, that the track of 
the Abiponian spies had been discovered there. 
Ceballos, to prevent all danger of a hostile 
inroad, sets off" for that place with a troop of 
horse. When arrived at the spot called Las 
Lagunas, he receives letters from the curate 



32 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



of Sta. Lucia, informing him that all things are 
safe and tranquil at present; upon which he 
begins to think of returning to the city. But 
at this conjuncture, a Spanish horseman, who 
had just escaped from captivity amongst the 
Abipones, arrives with news that on the neigh- 
bouring shore, and almost in sight, is the 
populous horde of the Cacique Ychamenrai- 
kin, who had lately gone with his Abipones to 
plunder Cordoba ; that none were left at home 
but the women and children, who were only 
guarded by a few old men ; and that this nu- 
merous horde might be safely attacked, and 
easily taken. Ceballos thought that this oppor- 
tunity of a successful enterprize was to be 
embraced with both hands, although many of 
the soldiers condemned his resolution, and 
even turned their backs. They said that a 
captive deserter was not a person to be rashly 
trusted ; that they, who were few in number 
and in a hostile land, might perhaps be over- 
whelmed by a multitude of lurking savages; 
and that a victory bought at so great a risk 
was by no means desirable. But Ceballos, 
despising the murmurs of the soldiery, eagerly 
hastened the expedition, and ordered skiifs to 
be brought for passing the Parana, where it 
unites with the Paraguay. The fugitive acting 
as guide, in a few hours the vast company of 



HISTORY OF THE A BI PONES. 



33 



savages was discovered, and surrounded by the 
soldiers. The mothers were taken with their 
children, or cut to pieces whilst attempting 
flight, or struggling wdth the foe ; there were 
many indeed, who eluded the Spaniards by 
cunning or swiftness, which was by no means 
difficult in those rugged roads. The booty con- 
sisted of numerous droves of horses, and 
various household utensils of silver, which the 
Abipones had formerly taken from the. Spani- 
ards. The soldiers, returning to the city with 
a vast crowd of captives, filled the mhabitants 
with joy and wonder. It is difficult to say the 
exact number of those who were taken, of every 
age and sex, but I think it amounted to several 
hundreds. The wife of the Cacique himself, 
and his little son Kieemk^, graced the triumph 
of the soldiers. Raachik, the grandson of 
the same Cacique, escaped by the way on his 
swift horse, through the negligence of the soldier 
appointed to guard him, and returned to his 
own country. Some of the captives were sent 
to the remoter towns of the Uruguay and Pa- 
rana, that, being deprived of all hope of a 
return to their friends, they might be instruct- 
ed in the Catholic faith amongst the Christian 
Guaranies. 

The success of this expedition, though it 
ought to have obtained glory for its author, 



VOL. III. 



D 




34 



HISTORY OF THE ABi PONES. 



il 



Ceballos, served only to procure him the envy 
of his fellow-citizens, and, in the end, banish- 
ment. He was persecuted by the people of 
Corrientes to such a degree that he was obliged 
to quit the city, and sail with his family to the 
port of Sta. Fe. Do not confound this man 
with Pedro Ceballos, Governour of Buenos- 
Ayres, for no relationship exists between them, 
either of family or of country. After the de- 
parture of this excellent man from Corrientes, 
the affairs of the inhabitants grew daily more 
desperate. When Ychamenraikin understood, 
on his return from Cordoba, that so many 
women and children, together with his own 
wife and son, had been taken in his absence, 
he appeared quite frantic. Infuriated by the 
loss, and by his eager desire of vengeance, he 
called on all the nations of Chaco, whose 
friendship he could depend upon, to avenge 
this deed of the Spaniards. Hostile troops 
were seen traversing the plain as thick as Iot 
custs. The inhabitants were sought, and drag- 
ged from their safest retreats to suffer death or 
captivity. All the estates, villages, settlements 
and roads were besprinkled with the blood of 
these wretches. I collect from the journals of 
that period, that seventy or more were killed 
in one day. Such numbers of dead bodies 
were carried in waggons from the country to 



IirSTOllY OF THE ABIPONES. 



35 



the city, that heaps of them were sometimes 
seen lying on each side of the parochial church, 
not single bodies in single graves, but all 
thrown together into one deep ditch. As in 
the remoter plains they could with difficulty 
find any to slay, they besieged the city with 
such a force, and so large an army, that for 
some days no one could depart from, or return 
to the city without danger of losing his life. 
Whilst guard was kept by day and by night, 
the faint-hearted crowd scarcely ever durst quit 
the churches, where they besought the forgive- 
ness of offended Heaven, and the cessation of 
so heavy a calamity. The provisions already 
beginning to fail, and no hope of liberation 
appearing, their minds lost all courage, as their 
bodies all vigour. But at last the most mer- 
ciful God seemed to favour the prayers of the 
supplicants ; for on the eighth day of the siege 
the garrison made an eruption, which forced 
the Abipones to retreat to their encampments 
beyond the Parana. 

After the short truce allowed them by the 
departure of the enemy, the people of Corri- 
entes perceived that war was rekindling against 
them. Fresh violence was used by the troops 
of the Abipones towards the settlements 
and estates that were farthest from the city. 
Amongst them was a place called Rincon de 

d2 



36 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



;i S 



Luna, till then thought inaccessible to all as- 
sailants, because it was hemmed in on every 
side by deep and wide marshes and ditches, 
and the Spaniards were forced to approach it 
by means of a boat. The Abiponian horsemen 
swam across that sea. The place contained 
many thousands of cattle, and a sufficient num- 
ber of Negro slaves to guard them, not one of 
whom escaped death or captivity, unless he 
concealed himself from the eyes of the savages. 
More than twenty youths were carried away, 
and a great number of the older men put to 
death. The churches were spoiled of the 
sacred utensils. Four large bells were taken 
away, and thrown into the water to prevent 
their being found. An incredible multitude of 
horses and mules were driven off : in a word, 
an estate inferior to none in opulence and se- 
curity was, in the space of a few hours, 
brought to ruin. The same fate befel almost 
all the other estates of the Spaniards, which 
being now destitute of beef, and the fruits of the 
earth having been consumed long ago, they 
began to be at a loss for provisions. The scar- 
city of food daily increasing, they resolved to 
desert their native city, and passing through 
the river, to change their quarters, dreading 
death more than exile. Whilst the savages 
continued to lay waste the territories of Corri- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



37 



entes, neither the soldiers nor the captains 
were deficient in their duty. Bold incursions 
were repeated against them, and many move- 
ments and attacks made here and there. Spies 
were sent, day and night, to observe the 
motions of the enemy : but what Argus could 
watch men whose greatest care and dexterity 
were exerted to prevent themselves from being 
seen? The Spaniards frequently attacked the 
savages, but with various success ; they were 
sometimes conquered, sometimes the conquer- 
ors. Ychoalay, the leader of the Abipones, 
was, in some skirmish, entangled by the sol- 
diers in a noose used for catching horses, and 
would have been strangled had he not quickly 
extricated himself. But I firmly assert, that 
the cause of the fruitlessness of so many expe- 
ditions undertaken against the savages origi- 
nated, not in the cowardice of the Spaniards, but 
in their boldness and intrepidity, blinded by 
which they were ignorant or insensible of the 
dangers which threatened them, and judged 
vigilance and swiftness unnecessary to their 
safety. The circumstance I am going to relate 
will be a proof of this. A company of Spanish 
horse was placed in a situation obnoxious to 
the enemy, as in an observatory. Whilst they 
ought to have taken a complete survey of all 
things in the open plain, they amused them- 

d3 



38 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 






I i:i!i i'l 



l< i! 



selves with playing cards in the shade. Mean- 
time a troop of Abipones suddenly appears, 
and carries away, before their eyes, the horses 
of the Spaniards, no one making any opposi- 
tion. If thus they eluded them whilst awake 
and watching, was it a matter of much difficulty 
to slay and plunder them whilst asleep and 
without suspicion ? 

By the provident counsels of the elder Spa- 
niards, estates and colonies of Indians had been 
placed on the higher shores of the Parana; 
that from them the enemies might be seen 
coming out of Chaco, and that the other remoter 
settlers might, by this means, be admonished 
of the approaching danger. The Parana, in 
these places, is often broken by Httle islands, 
which, affording resting-places to the horses 
when they are fatigued with swimming, offer 
the Abipones a very convenient passage. Hence, 
that all sudden assaults might be prevented by 
the neighbourhood of the settlers dwelling on 
the shore, Sta. Lucia, St.Iago Sanchez, Ohoma, 
and Ytati, four townlets of the Indians, were 
■ formerly built on the banks of the Parana, at 
intervals of some leagues. The Abipones, 
finding that these colonies stood in the way of 
their clandestine journeys to the interior parts 
of the province, resolved upon their destruc- 
tion, and their endeavours proved by no means 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



39 



fruitless. The town of St. lago Sanchez was at 
lenath ruined. Whilst the able-bodied Indians 
were employed in cutting bulrushes, and a 
crowd of women, children, and old men were 
listening to the preacher, the town and church 
were suddenly besieged by the savages, and 
consumed by fire. Flight was impracticable : 
the priest and the whole congregation were 
burnt to ashes. The neighbouring townlet 
of Ohoma was annoyed by continual inroads, 
till the inhabitants, fearing lest it should under- 
go the same fate, deserted it of their own 
accord, and removed to safer places. Ytati 
was miserably ravaged by the Payaguas, Abi- 
pones, and Mocobios, but recovered when 
peace was made by the enemy ; and is at this 
day rich in cattle, though not in inhabitants. 
The colony of Sta. Lucia was assaulted for 
many years, but never completely conquered, 
though the number of inhabitants was incredi- 
bly thinned. As the circumference of it is 
very inconsiderable, it is entirely surrounded 
by a slender wall, to which it owes its security, 
as I was assured by the curate of the place. 
This man had made use of two precautions for 
the defence of himself and his fellow-citizens ; 
he placed a high chamber on the top of his 
hous'e, whence he diligently watched the enemy 
advancing through the flat country. He kept 

d4 




40 



HISTORY OF THE AEIPONES. 



■ h 



ni "S 



continually in readiness, moreover, a very small 
warlike machine, by the explosion of which, he 
both signified to his people, who were employed 
without the walls, that they should betake 
themselves home, as danger was nigh, and at 
the same time deterred the savages from ap- 
proaching. Arriving at the town of St. Ferdi- 
nand, I was asked by one of the Abipones, 
which way I had come, and on my replying 
that I had passed through Sta. Lucia, "Alas!" 
said he, " that terrible Father lives there. He 
makes use of a huge musket ; (alluding to the 
engine I have described.) Our horses could 
never support the thundering sound it emits, 
whilst we have laboured to approach it." Had 
he been candid, he would have added, that not 
the horses only, but also their riders, were often 
put to flight by the noise of that machine. 

Whilst this little town of Sta. Lucia remained 
in security, the other towns and estates of the 
Spaniards were utterly ruined, being either 
sacked by the enemy, or deserted by the Spa- 
niards through fear of the enemy. Therefore, 
whilst the country near the shore was entirely 
divested of the dwellings of the Christians, the 
Abipones crossed the Parana at their pleasure, 
and traversed the land, more like fixed inhabi- 
tants, than occasional visitors. The Spanish 
scouts sent from .the city were generally eluded 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



41 



by the savages, and frequently slain by them. 
But a troop of Spanish horse had remained for 
the defence of the estates situated near the 
rivers Sombrero, Sombrerillo, Peguah6, and 
Riachuelo, and of those nearer the city ; they 
also served to guard the oxen brought from 
those estates to support the city. Wherever 
you set your foot in the surrounding fields, you 
may behold monuments of the cruelty of the 
savages; — here the remains of dilapidated 
buildings ;— there, numerous crosses planted in 
the ground. If you enquire what those crosses 
mean, you will hear that thirty, forty or more 
bodies of miserable wretches, who were slain 
by the savages, were formerly buried there. 
They will show you, in another place, a field 
sadly noted by the blood and dead bpdies of 
the Spaniards, who were slain in an unfortu- 
nate engagement with the savages. 

Another misery was added to the calamities 
of the city, namely, the want of wood. The 
eastern shore of the Parana, which the city 
occupies, is not entirely deficient in trees, 
which afford wood for fuel, but none grow 
there supplying useful materials for building 
houses, ships, or waggons. The western shore, 
however, abounds in such trees ; but this being 
the land of the Yaaukanigar Abipones, no Spa- 
niard can approach it without endangering his 



42 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



life. During the heat of the war, Father 
Joseph Gaete, of our College, who at that time 
managed the domestic affairs of the city, saw 
there was immediate occasion for a very long 
and firm plank, to prop a house which was 
almost ready to fall. To procure this with 
safety, he filled a ship fit to cross the river, 
with slaves, gave them a guard of soldiers, and 
accompanied them himself. But scarce had 
the trunk received a few blows from the axe, 
when the shouts of the Abipones were heard! 
The Negroes and soldiers, awaiting neither the 
arrival of the enemy, nor the Father's orders, 
left their tools, clothes, and food, flew to the 
ship, and entirely forgetting the plank which 
had been the object of their search, made for 
the opposite bank as fast as possible, flying 
''the cruel coasts and greedy shore"; their 
safe escape from which was reckoned amongst 
the blessings of their lives. From these ac- 
counts you may guess in what a condition the 
affairs of Corrientes then were. Upon the in- 
habitants of this city did the Abipones pour 
forth their most unrelenting persecutions, be- 
cause they were the nearest and most hateful 
to them. Separated from the Corrientines by 
the river Parana alone, they easily reiterated 
their incursions, attracted to plunder by the 
short distance, and stimulated to revenge by 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



43 



the ever fresh remembrance of the injuries they 
professed themselves to have received. The 
peace concluded with the Abipones in the year 
1747, and the colonies founded for them, at 
length put an end to these long calamities. 
By these means, also, the savages in Chaco 
were appeased, or at least restrained, so that 
the Corrientines, after weathering this furious 
storm, began at last to recover from their 
sufferings. 



44 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER VI. 

OF THE EXCURSIONS OF THE AB [PONES AGAINST THE 
COLONIES OF ST. lAGO DEL ESTERO. 

Long after the other colonies throughout Pa- 
raguay had been struggling with the enemy, 
the country of St. lago continued free from 
molestation and totally unacquainted with the 
Abipones, and their powers ; for these savages 
had at that time discovered no way of ap- 
proaching them ; but at last the inhabitants 
themselves were their instructors. They were 
in the habit of going in troops out of their own 
country to the river Parana, for the purpose of 
hunting the numerous stags which frequent its 
banks. These hunters sometimes held familiar 
intercourse with the Abipones, and sometimes, 
abusing their friendship, carried away their 
horses. The savages, provoked by these inju- 
ries, pursued their footsteps when they de- 
parted, and in this way first began to obtain a 
knowledge of the province of St. lago, and after- 
wards to disturb it with arms. 

I have found all the Spaniards throughout 
Paraguay to be active, intrepid, endowed^'with 
a handsome form, great strength, and a noble 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



45 



disposition, agile in swimming, and remarkable 
for skill in horsemanship ; but I fearlessly assert 
that the St. lagans are better qualified than 
any of the rest to pursue the savages. Both 
themselves and their horses are extremely pa- 
tient of labour, travelling, and inconveniences 
of every kind, and are satisfied with that food 
which is most easily procured. On sudden 
expeditions against the savages they make a 
composition of maize flour, preserved with 
honey or sugar : this, mixed with water, is all 
their provisions, as it allays both hunger and 
thirst ; and in travelling with them I did not 
find it unpleasant, especially when the weather 
was particularly hot, as it possesses an excel- 
lent property of cooling the body, and quench- 
ing the thirst. The soldiers use it to save time 
and labour, for neither wood nor fire are re- 
quired to cook this flour. When they dismount 
from their horses to cross a lake or river, each 
man draws water for himself in a little horn 
cup suspended by a string, and drinks it mixed 
with this flour, which saves time, and enables 
them more conveniently to pursue the savages. 
The Spaniards of Cordoba, Buenos- Ayres, and 
Sta. F^, when they took a journey on account 
of the Indians, used to drive before them whole 
droves of horses and oxen. Whilst a soldier 
of St. lago, with but one horse, makes a jour- 



46 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



ney of many days and even weeks, the former 
change their horses frequently in one day, and 
consume a great deal of time in catching and 
harnessing them. That fresh meat may be 
always in readiness, they kill oxen every day, 
so that much of their time is spent in cutting 
the flesh, roasting and eating it, and in seeking 
fuel for the fire to cook it with. It is no 
wonder therefore that the slowly pursuing 
Spaniards are almost always eluded by the 
savages who prosecute their flight without in- 
terruption, and that the soldiers of St. lago 
are dreaded on account of their swiftnes^'s. 
Moreover the fires which the other Spaniards 
kindle on the way are to be condemned, be- 
cause the smoke often betrays them to the 
Indians. When their flour is consumed, the 
soldiers of St. lago support themselves by the 
wild animals which they hunt on the way. 
Few of them are furnished with muskets ; their 
chief arms are spears, which, though not of the 
best quality, are more formidable to the savages 
than the fire-arms of others. 

Another of their excellencies is a wonderful 
sagacity in exploring. None are quicker than 
they at discovering the hidden retreats of the 
savages, at finding any fugitive, whether it be 
man or beast, or at bringing back any thing 
stolen. This quickness at exploring enabled 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



47 



them not only to discover the savages, but to 
intimidate and overcome them in time of war ; 
for to discover the enemy, either whilst they are 
concealed in their secret retreats, or contem- 
plating a surprize, is a great part of victory in 
America. This I learnt for certain, that the horse- 
men of St. lago, on account of their swiftness, and 
singular skill in exploring, were more dreaded 
by the Abipones, and seldomer and more cau- 
tiously attacked than the other Spaniards. St. 
lago itself, from being surrounded by lesser 
colonies, never suffered either danger or mo- 
lestation from the savages. The whole neigh- 
bourhood enjoyed the same exemption; for a 
row of surrounding dwelling-houses, like little 
fortifications, forbade all access to the savages, 
or at least rendered it very dangerous. The 
storm of the war seems, for many years, to 
have fallen on the territories that are washed 
by the river Salado, and on those near Cordoba. 
The passage from Chaco to these places is easy, 
and the outskirts of provinces are everywhere 
more liable to the incursions of hostile nations. 
The Abipones frequently overran these territo- 
ries for the sake of plunder. Many were slain 
in the fields and houses, some taken captive, 
and others robbed of their goods and cattle. 
How great were the sufferings of Moppa and 
Salabina, old townlets of the Indians, and the 



48 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



I "'"-1 



neighbouring places ! In Manumo many were 
killed on the same day. All the men being 
slain, a Mulatta woman snatched up a sword, 
and slew an Abipon, but she was soon killed 
herself by the rest. The journey from Sta. F^ 
to St. lago was, at that time, most perilous. 
The ways were strewed with the dead bodies 
of the Spaniards. Miguel de Luna, who, 
though more remarkable for greatness of body 
than of mind, had been promoted to the rank 
of camp-master, was returning from the estates 
of Sta. F^, accompanied by a great number of 
horses and oxen, which he had purchased. 
Whilst recHning at noon, under the shade of a 
tree, he was surprized by a company of Abi- 
pones and Mocobios. Of his companions some 
were employed in catching the horses which 
had been let loose to pasture, others in killing 
oxen. Some of the Spaniards were pierced by 
the spears of the Abipones in the first attack : 
the rest were saved by means of their horses' 
hoofs, leaving the cattle and baggage in the 
hands of the enemy. Tinko, a man famous for 
his knowledge of ways and tracks, caught hold 
of his master Miguel with both hands, and 
placing him like a bundle on the crupper of his 
horse, galloped away so quickly that Miguel 
had no time to seat himself in a proper posi- 
tion. The servant and his master were pursued 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



49 



in their flight by a party of savages, who kept 
endeavouring to wound them with spears, but 
none durst approach for fear of the musket 
which hung suspended from Miguel's back, 
though this musket was in such a condition 
that the enemy had little occasion to fear it, 
nor could its owner expect it to yield a single 
spark of fire. Many years after, I saw this 
noble pair of fugitives, as well as that famous 
instrument of defence, at which 1 laughed 
heartily, for it was hardly worthy of the name 
of musket. 

The same road which had been the scene of 
these events became always liable to the incur- 
sions of the savages, and proved fatal to many 
who journeyed there. Alarcon, Las Tres Cruzes, 
La Viuda, Las Sepulturas, Don Gil, Doiia Lo- 
renza, and other places near the river SaladOj 
are wont to inspire terror by recalling the me- 
mory of the numerous slaughters perpetrated 
there. Throughout these extensive tracts of 
land, estates once flourished opulent in cattle, 
which being laid waste by the savages, a mourn- 
ful solitude, opportune for plunderers, had suc- 
ceeded. Hence the road hanging over the 
river Salado was deserted by the St. lagans, 
who, for the sake of security, thought proper 
to frequent another, named El cammo de ios 
porongos. But whilst they avoided Chary bdis 

VOL. III. X 



50 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



they fell upon Scylla, for there the Abipones 
wandered in troops, bearing destruction to 
all they met. One Barassa, and three com- 
panions, as they were conveying merchandise 
on mules from the city of Sta. F^, were cruelly 
murdered in the field called Los mmii^otes, 
whilst I was in Paraguay. 

The slaughter of the Spaniards of St. lago 
in the woods named Hierro, was much more 
desperate. To give you some idea of the 
extent of it, a little prefacing is necessary. To 
seek honey and wax in the woods, to purify 
and prepare it, and to sell it to others, is the 
principal and peculiar trade of the inhabitants 
of St. lago. Slaves are sent for that purpose 
by the more opulent, with a director, to the 
remotest woods, where natural bee-hives are 
found in hollow trees. Cottages are built for 
the labourers of boughs and straw, where 
there is a field close by, and a good opportu- 
nity of getting water. They always keep a 
number of horses and mules; the former for 
the purpose of travelling and hunting, the latter 
for that of carrying burdens of provisions, wax, 
and honey. They are all extremely solicitous 
to have in readiness very swift horses, with 
which they daily sally forth to hunt wild ani- 
mals, the flesh of which they use for food, and 
the skins for bags to hold the honey. Whilst 
the rest wander through the wood, their director 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES^ 



boils the wax collected the day before, aiid pre- 
pares food for his companions on their return.- 
There is one place particularly abundant ill 
honey ; it is a hundred leagues from St. lago, 
and is named Hierro. 

This circumstance was well known to Oaher- 
kaikin, the crafty leader of the Abipones, iand 
thither he came to commit depredations with a 
faithful troop of followers, nor was he dis- 
appointed in his hopes ; for he found a vast 
number of Spaniards in that place seeking 
honey. The most distinguished of these Was 
Lisondo, than whom, the Gommander-in-chief, 
Barreda, declared, he had not a braver nor 
more active soldier. One of the slaves, who 
had gone to a neighbouring ditch to draw- 
water, spied an Abiponian horseman leaning 
upon his spear, and having his face painted with 
dark colours ; upon which he called out AmigOy 
friend. This salutation being sternly rejected 
by the savage, the slave, greatly alarmed, told 
what he had seen to Lisondo, who, always in- 
trepid, said he saw no immediate occasion for 
fear. Soon after, the bands of Abipones sprung 
forth from the various parts of the wood where 
they had concealed themselves, and slaying all 
they met, rushed into the cottage of Lisondo, 
who, armed with his axe and his presence of 
mind alone, broke the spears of four of the 

E 2 



52 



miSTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



assailants, but at last fell oppressed by num- 
bers. He expired wounded in many places, 
having been first dragged out of doors by 
strong straps of leather, with which his hands 
and feet were bound. Lisondo being slain, the 
few who escaped the eyes and hands of the 
savages, saved their lives by flight. Three or 
four leapt on to the same horse, and beginning 
their journey without any provisions, the fugi- 
tives were threatened with fresh dangers of 
death. They had to travel at least fifty leagues, 
in a vast solitude, before they could reach the 
dwellings of men. Hence, wasted with hunger, 
thirst, and apprehension, they at length reached 
home, many of them on foot, and though they 
had escaped death, looked more dead than 
alive. Meanwhile, in the scene of so much 
bloodshed, a vast quantity of wax and honey, 
a number of excellent horses and mules, the 
large brazen caldrons for refining the wax, the 
axes and various other iron implements, and 
the wearing apparel, became the prey of the 
savages : whilst the owners at St. lago bitterly 
deplored the deaths of the men, and the loss 
of their property. The Abipones who com- 
mitted this slaughter were those who, till then, 
had refused to enter the colonies founded for 
their nation ; but they soon after took refuge in 
them to avoid the vengeance of the Spaniards. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



5a 



The Abipones raged with still more violence 
and pertinacity against those colonies which 
look towards the south, and are near the 
territories of Cordoba. Zumampa, Las Bar- 
rancas, and El Oratorio, for a long time wit- 
nessed the cruelty of the savages. A whole 
village was destroyed, while some of the inha- 
bitants were slain, and others made captive, 
scarce one or two surviving. This country is 
intersected by a high road, through which wag- 
gons loaden with Peruvian money frequently 
pass to Buenos- Ayres. The certainty of booty 
and great facility of committing depredations 
had attracted the Abipones to these parts of 
the province, to the great annoyance of mer- 
. chants, who were thus necessitated either to 
lose their merchandise, or to bring soldiers at 
a great expense to defend the waggons and 
their drivers, who often lost their lives as they 
were endeavouring to defend the lives and pro- 
perties of others. 

These and many other things of this kind 
were committed by the Abipones against the 
inhabitants of St. lago, who knew not that they 
had to deal with a people accustomed to leave no- 
thing unrevenged. They frequently eluded the 
attempts of the enemy by vigilance, oftener 
warded them off by dint of brave exertions. 
They often returned slaughter for slaughter, 

E 3 



54 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



wounds for wounds. They had made such 
frequent inroads into Chaco, and so many suc- 
cessful invasions of the hordes of the savages, 
that the soldiers were scarce sufficient to guard 
the captives. I cannot commend the soldiers 
of St. lago without launching out into the praise 
of their general, Barreda. Excuse me if I make 
some tribute to my love for this man, and appear 
somewhat prolix in what respects him but fear 
nothing in regard to veracity. Barreda is in- 
deed my friend, but truth still more so. 






HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



I>5 



CHAPTER VII. 



OF THE EXPEDITIONS OF FRANCISCO BARREDA, GENE- 
RAL OF THE ST. lAGANS, AGAINST THE ABIPONES 
AND MOCOBIOS. 

AsTiGi, a city of Andalusia, was his native place. 
He was born of a most respectable family, and 
had been in the King's service from his earliest 
years. He set sail from Cadiz for Paraguay, 
while yet a youth, bearing letters from the King, 
in the office of naval secretary. This voyage 
is often performed in three or four months, with 
a favourable wind; Barreda and his compa- 
nions, miserably tost about the ocean, scarce 
reached the port of Buenos- Ayres on the tenth. 
Having dispatched their business in that city, 
all things were put in readiness for return- 
ing to Europe, and they entered the vessel. 
But just as they were going to raise anchor, a 
furious south wind encountered the ship, turned 
it on its beam-ends, and would have sunk it, 
had it not been held by steady anchors. The 
crew remained the whole night on a sand bank, 
expecting death every moment. The shades of 
night increased their fears and their danger, 

E 4 



56 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



All must have perished, had not a boat arrived, 
at day-break, from the shore, which is three 
miles distant from the place where the ships 
lie at anchor. Barreda conceived such a horror 
of navigation, that, when his companions re- 
turned to Spain, he remained in Paraguay, 
reserved by the Almighty to repress the boldness 
of the savages, by whom he was more dreaded 
in his age, than the sea had been by him in his 
youth. He was removed from Buenos-Ayres 
to Salabina, a little town in the country of St. 
lago, where his skill in writing rendered him 
very useful. He volunteered to accompany the 
soldiers in an incursion against the savages, and 
after having, in repeated campaigns, given 
signal proofs of wisdom and valour, was pro- 
moted first to command a troop of horse, after- 
wards to lead them against the savages, and 
lastly to be chief ruler, in the Governour's 
name, over the whole territory of the river 
Salado; in which station, he commended 
himself to the Royal Governour of Tucuman, 
by his many brave and noble actions, the chief 
of which was his prevailing upon the Vilelas 
to embrace the Roman Catholic religion. By 
means of his industrious efforts, ten thousand 
Vilelas quitted their lurking-holes in the woods, 
entered the new colonies, and received baptism. 
The small-pox, which broke out soon afterwards. 



isi; lii 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



57 



cut off greatest part of them, and the survivors 
settled first in the land of Cordoba, and after- 
wards in the territory of St. lago, where, as they 
daily decreased more and more under other 
masters, they were committed to the care of the 
priests of our order. 

Barreda pursued the Abipones and Mocobios, 
who continued hostile, with the rigour of arms, 
as he had concihated the peaceful Vilelas by 
gentle measures. If he did not entirely repress 
their boldness, he certainly restrained and 
punished it with frequent discomfitures. The 
Royal Governour, desirous of rewarding his 
merit, conferred on him the supreme adminis-i 
tration, in his name, of all aifairs, civil and 
military, in all the colonies of St. lago. How 
well he answered to the good opinion enter- 
tained of him, you may discover from the 
circumstance, that he held this office, for thirty 
years, and never laid itdown till his death, equally 
beloved by all good men, and dreaded by the 
savages. Many declared that they saw nothing 
to object to in him but his goodness, which 
almost appeared carried to an excess. In the 
punishment of criminals, he showed himself 
more lenient, than hasty or severe ; for he used 
to say he would rather suffer ten guilty men to 
escape unpunished, than punish one innocent 
man. Whenever he pronounced sentence, as a 



« 




S8 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



judge, he endeavoured to favour the Indian 
rather than the Spaniard, usually saying : He 
de attender a la parte mas flaca : I must defend 
the weaker side. He had a very gentle dispo- 
sition, by which he conciliated all hearts ; his 
person was handsome, and his body large and 
vigorous, so that it was easy to infer how great 
a soul inhabited it. In uprightness of conduct, 
in purity of mind, and in sincere piety, he ex- 
celled, or at any rate equalled all the civil and 
mihtary commanders of his time. His love and 
reverence for the priesthood were very great. 
In the presence of hundreds of soldiers, and of 
my Abipones, he disdained not to honour my 
hand with a pious kiss ; and to assist me as I was 
performing the sacred rites. He devoted himself 
entirely to promoting the advantage of the pro- 
vince committed to his care, so that he had no 
time to think of heaping up riches, which is com- 
monly thought the chief business of Europeans 
in America. But though not very opulent, he 
was exceedingly liberal. In short, by the splen- 
dor of his virtues, and by his famous achieve- 
ments against the savages, he obtained an im- 
mortal reputation, but at the same time excited 
the envy of cowards and sluggards ; a fate which 
attends all eminent men, and is their constant in- 
heritance. Noble actions however clearly refute 
the accusations of the envious. Barred a not only 



1i:J:il'.| 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



S0 



attended thirty expeditions against the Abipones 
and Mocobios, but headed them all himself 
except three. The number of his victories, 
such victories as are gained in America, was 
the same as that of his expeditions. You would 
have thought that fortune waited on his foot- 
steps. But he used to impute his success not 
to fortune, but to the favour of the Almighty, 
and to the activity and sagacity of his soldiers ; 
as if he himself had contributed little or nothing 
to the prosperous event of the war. Yet it is 
allowed on all hands that the success of these 
expeditions was chiefly owing to the prudence, 
industry, and caution of Barreda. But he was 
not one of those generals, who, to speak in the 
words of Livy, enter a contest, relying more 
on their courage, than on their strength. The 
desire of fame or booty never induced him to 
hazard an attack, unless he thought the hope 
of victory greater than the likelihood of the 
most trifling slaughter. In order to judge of 
this he carefully marked the situation of places, 
the numbers of his adversaries, and the oppor- 
tunities of the journey and of the road. A band 
of scouts was daily sent forward, to discover 
the ambuscades of the enemy, to examine their 
dwellings and their numbers, or to surprize them 
unawares. Barreda detested any slaughter of 
the savages, if attended by that of his own 



m 



HISTORY OP THE ABIPONES. 



soldiers/ "Where I am present," he said, 
^.' every thing goes on well. But if," added he, 
" I were utterly to destroy all the savages in 
Chaco, at the expense of two soldiers only, 
verily, on my return to the city, I should expect 
to be saluted with mud and stones. The people 
are extremely desirous of the deaths of the 
savages, but expect their own soldiers to be 
immortal in every battle." As it had been 
clearly proved that Barreda was by no means 
rash in undertaking expeditions, the people of 
St. lago with wilHng minds followed whither- 
soever he led, and under no leader did these^ 
excellent soldiers make more daring achieve- 
ments.: 

I have already mentioned that the people of 
St. lago possessed a singular skill at exploring, 
but that Landriel excelled in this respect is 
doubted by no one. Barreda made use of him 
for many years as the chief instrument of his 
victories ; and by this penetrating discoverer 
of the savages he was accompanied wherever 
he went. Other Spaniards, too, out of the 
territories of St. lago, took him for their guide 
whenever the savages were to be attacked or 
repelled. I will give you an account of a vic- 
tory which Barreda gained chiefly by means of 
this man. As Landriel was on his way home 
from the woods, where he had been employed 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



61 



in collecting wax and honey, he fell in with 
Barreda, who had just set off on an expedition 
against the Abipones, with many hundred horse. 
*' Tarry here awhile," said Landriel to him. 
"Let me carry home the mules loaden with 
wax and honey, and to-morrow I will return 
provided with proper horses, and conduct you 
straight forward to the dwellings of the Abi- 
pones. I saw them myself very lately, and was 
compelled by hunger to slay some of their 
oxen." Landriel was joyfully beheld by them 
all as a propitious star, and not listened to 
without inspiring confidence of victory. He 
stood to his promise, and returning the next 
day, was the life of the party, and the eye and 
right hand of Barreda. In a few days, as he 
knew the Abiponian horde to be at no great 
distance, he stations the forces which were pro- 
ceeding into Chaco, in a secure place, whilst 
he himself, with another soldier, goes to dis- 
cover whether the Abipones continued in the 
same place where he had first seen them. In 
the evening, leaving his horse to the care of his 
companion, he hastens alone and on foot to the 
place where he had lately espied the dwellings 
of the savages, but finds that they had changed 
their quarters. He knew that close by was a 
lake, affording great convenience for a savage 
horde. Thither he steals, and perceives from: 



62 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



!J 



I ii'i 



the number of fires that the Abipones, whom he 
sought, had settled there. Returning to the 
place where he had left his horse in the care of 
his companion, he finds that both were depart- 
ed; for the soldier, imagining that Landriel 
must have been intercepted by the savages, 
from his staying so many hours, had consulted 
his own safety by flight. Barreda, and all the 
other soldiers, after vainly expecting Landriel's 
return for so long a time, began to entertain 
the same suspicions. They were not aware 
that Landriel had to return on foot, the same 
distance which he had gone on horseback. But 
when at length he returned safe, Barreda re- 
sumed his courage, and all the rest their hope 
of victory, especially when they understood 
that the retreat of the savages had been dis- 
covered. 

The journey was now begun, forthwith, under 
Landriel's guidance; and when after many hours 
they had crossed a plain which was flooded to 
such a degree as to bear the appearance of a 
lake, the dwellings of the Abipones were seen, 
and instantly attacked. The very few men in 
the place could not stand the assault of the 
Spaniards, but preferred flight to combat. The 
Cacique who governed that horde, with most of 
the efficient men, were then absent : doubtless, 
had they been at home, the attack would not 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONESV 



63 



have proved entirely bloodless. Some of the 
Indians, however, who were slower in their 
flight, were slain, and a train of women and 
children taken captive. Various silver uten- 
sils, the fruit of much plunder, many hundreds 
of horses, and numerous oxen, were the booty 
of the Spaniards. The day being nearly ended, 
the Spaniards passed the night in the same 
place ; not sleeping, but watching, and all the 
captives, many hundreds in number, were 
guarded in the fold where the horses had for- 
merly been kept. 

Amongst the captives were some Spanish 
women, who had been formerly taken in war 
by the Abipones ; one of these persuaded the 
soldiers to return by a different, and more con- 
venient way than that by which they had come, 
and this proposal was eagerly embraced by the 
soldiers, whose clothes were still wet with the 
water of their yesterday's journey. Meantime 
the report of the incursion of the Spaniards pro- 
voked to the desire of vengeance all the Abi- 
pones who dwelt in the vicinity. Exasperated 
by the captivity of their wives and children, 
they fell upon the last company of the St. 
lagans, but met with a brave repulse. Some 
of the soldiers, however, forgetful of the dan- 
ger, were nearly slaiu by the savages, whilst 
at a distance from their companions. One o£ 



64 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



them falling from his horse into a marshy 
place, would soon have been pierced with 
spears, had not Captain Gorosito succoured 
him by the intervention of a musket. The 
Indians, perceiving that their skirmishes had 
produced no effect, withdrew to their places of 
concealment, leaving the Spaniards to pursue 
their journey, without further molestation. 
Alaykin, ill enduring the loss of so many peo- 
ple and horses, began to think of estabhshing- 
a peace with the inhabitants of St. lago, and of 
requesting a colony for himself; both of which, 
he obtained, by the intercession of Barreda. 
Numbers were slain, and about two hundred 
taken prisoners, in another excursion under- 
taken by Barreda against the Mocobios, most 
of whom, terrified by so much slaughter, took 
refuge in the town of St. Xavier, which had 
been founded in the territories of Sta. F^, for 
the Caciques Aletin and Chitalin, and at that" 
time contained about twenty famihes, but was- 
wonderfully increased by the accession of those 
whom Barreda frightened into entering it, or 
freed from captivity and sent thither. I pass 
by many other expeditions of this kind which 
Barreda successfully conducted against the. 
savages ; some of them, however, I shall touch 
upon in treating of the affairs of Cordoba. 
Barreda always maintained that his assaults on 



the savages would have caused less effusion of 
blood, had his soldiers, though excellent in 
every other respect, paid more obedience to his 
orders. You shall now hear the complaints he 



made against them 




VOL. IIJ 



66 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

OF CERTAIN DEFECTS IN THE SOLDIERS OF ST. I AGO, OF 
THEIR COMPANIES, AND OF THE DEGREES OF MILITARY 
HANK AMONGST THEM. 

The soldiers of St. lago were accused of three 
defects by their old general, Barreda. The 
first is, that in an assault, they neglect to sur- 
round the dwellings of the savages on every 
side, and thus give them an opportunity of 
escaping. They make the first attack in front, 
leaving a way to the wood, whither the enemy 
may take shelter. Experience has taught them 
that the Abipones and Mocobios fight de- 
sperately when straitened. They knew well 
that the province would be more disturbed by 
the deaths of two soldiers, than rejoiced at the 
slaughter of two hundred savages. Induced 
by these considerations, the soldiers of St. 
lago, slighting the orders of their commander, 
attack the enemy on that part which they 
think least dangerous to themselves. Another 
subject of complaint to Barreda, was, that, 
though he commanded them to make the at- 
tack in silence, they still would rush on with 
shouts and senseless clamour. The third ob- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



67 



jection was, their greediness for booty. When 
an unarmed multitude of women and children 
were taken, whilst the men escaped, the sol- 
diers, scattered up and down the plain, were 
eagerly seeking .droves of horses, when they 
ought to have been employed in pursuing and 
slaughtering the fugitives, and in watching dili- 
gently, lest the savages should shake off dread, 
quit their lurking-holes, and again exhibit their 
faces in the field. Barreda himself, in an ex- 
pedition against the Mocobios, ran great risk 
of losing his life ; for as he remained in the 
plundered camp, with but one companion, the 
rest being employed in catching the enemy's 
horses in the plain, a Mocobio suddenly started 
up from under a mat, and before taking to 
flight, shot an arrow at his breast, which 
would have proved mortal, had he not been 
protected by his woollen garment : the man was 
immediately pierced with a musket ball. Who 
would not laugh at the paltry plunder of the 
enemy's camp? They search every corner, 
and collect jugs, pots, gourds, shells, skins of 
beasts, emus' feathers, in short whatever they 
can find, leaving nothing behind but the dust. 
With much care and trouble they carry home 
all sorts of trash, to be exhibited as trophies 
to their neighbours and to posterity. 

Not one soldier receives any pay, through- 

f2 



68 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



:.!'!' 



out the whole district of St lago. The colo- 
nists are all divided into companies, some of 
which consist of two hundred men, more or 
less. Each has its captain, lieutenant, ensign, 
(though that is a mere title, for they have no 
/ ensigns,) and corporals. It is the captain's duty 
to call out the soldiers to an excursion. The 
lieutenant's business is to guard the horses, 
both by day, when they are driven all together 
along the road, without riders, and by night, 
when they are grazing in the open plain. 
Many take long journeys on one horse, but 
the more opulent carry four, or even ten, 
and ride them by turns. The ensigns act in 
the place of the lieutenant, when he is absent, 
or resting. In each of the territories of the 
province, there is a master of the watch, called 
Sargento Mayor, who has the chief command 
both over the captains and their companies, 
and orders which are to go to war. This 
officer, sometimes from partiality, sometimes 
from being corrupted by bribes, suffers the 
richer people to remain at home, and forces 
the poorer, and generally the least able, to at- 
tend the militia. All condemn, but none dare 
to correct this abominable custom, the perni- 
cious effects of which extend to the whole 
province. Barreda permitted nobody to be 
appointed for an expedition, who did not possess 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



69 



at least four horses, and who had neither bro- 
thers nor grown-up sons at home, to manage 
his domestic affairs in his absence. During 
my stay there, the whole province of St. lago 
contained eleven companies, which took their 
names from their captains. Beside these, 
there is a company of scouts, called Batidores 
del carnpo, containing fewer than the others, but 
those few of tried sagacity and courage. The 
chief and the champion of this company was 
Landriel, who, as a remuneration for his well- 
known merits, was declared camp-master by 
the Governour of Tucuman. But I should have 
been better pleased to have heard of his having 
been enriched with money, or a pension, than 
adorned with an empty title. According to 
report, his father was not of low birth, but 
his mother must have been an Indian, to judge 
from his features, speech, and complexion. 
He was born in a village of St. lago. Reading 
and writing were the extent of his attainments. 
He was courteous and upright in his manners, 
endowed with a quick understanding, with sin- 
gular prudence and piety, and robust, though 
middle-sized in stature. He always led a single 
life, to the best of my remembrance. I visited 
him on my return from the city, when he dwelt 
with his mother, in a miserable hut, not far 
from Soconcho, on the banks of the river Dulce, 

f3 



70 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



and was grieved to witness the poverty of so 
famous a man. The Governour granted him the 
field Alarcon, which extends many leagues, 
and is rich in woods, but being surrounded with 
a vast desert, and consequently liable to the 
incursions of the savages, cannot be cultivated 
with safety. 

The last, and chief company, consists of the 
captains who have served out their time, and 
are called Capitanes Reformados. These attend 
the Vice-Governour, the Commander-in-chief 
in excursions, but are exempt from the other 
journeys and burdens of the war. To obtain 
this immunity, those who are more gifted with 
wealth than courage purchase the title of a 
reformed captain, though they never discharged 
the office either of captain or lieutenant. You 
can hardly imagine how ardently all the Ameri- 
cans, both Indians and Spaniards, sue for mili- 
tary dignities, and how much they are delighted 
with these honourable titles. ^Do they faint 
with hunger, thirst and wretchedness? — salute 
them with the title of captain, or master of 
the watch, and they will revive, — in ccRlmn, jus- 
serisy ibunt. There was an old Spaniard who 
knew how to make waggons, gates, and mill- 
wheels, and was, on this account, styled a 
mathematician by the ignorant vulgar, who 
doubtless accounted him superior to Archi- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



71 



medes. Barreda was in want of this man's 
assistance in constructing the gates and win- 
dow-beams in the new colony of Concepcion; 
but being well aware that the old workman 
would never be persuaded to go to the country 
of the Abipones, being more attached to his 
own house than a tortoise to its shell, he made 
use of an honest stratagem to obtain his pur- 
pose, and immediately declared him a reformed 
captain. In a few days, Barreda gives out his 
intention of taking a journey to the colony. 
According to custom, two companies and all 
the reformed captains were called out, amongst 
whom, this most noble artificer, as he had lately 
been elected one of their number, could not 
refuse to go. Barreda jocosely told me the 
whole story, in the new town of Concepcion, 
and charged me always to salute the said work- 
man with the high-sounding title of Captain, 
saying it would be an excellent method of sti- 
mulating him to exertion^ I took the hint, 
and whenever I had occasion to visit the 
workshop, interspersed every sentence with 
Seiior Capita?i. '* Very true," said he ; ** by the 
grace of God I am a captain; that can't be 
denied. But what of that?" And then he 
complained to me, that many did not know that 
this was the case. I immediately employed 
all my rhetorical powers in extolling the per- 

f4 



'^2 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



:.'■!; ^ 



fections of a reformed captain in general, and 
his own exceeding merit in particular ; and in 
this panegyric I took care that every sentence 
should begin and end with, Sefior Capitan. 
At my request, this mode of speech was adopt- 
ed by Barreda and all the rest, which artifice 
succeeded so well, that the good old man made 
the gates, doors, and other necessaries, with 
all possible dispatch, though not in the most 
skilfiil manner : such was the potency of the 
unprofitable title of captain amongst them, 
which I have seen confirmed by another event 
of the same kind, that took place in the town 
of Goncepcion. 

Barreda ordered the soldiers to hedge round 
a very large field, to plough, and sow it with 
maize, melons, cotton, &c. and he himself 
laboured with his own hands, that the Abipones 
might not be ashamed of the plough. At the 
end of four days, being obliged to return to the 
city, he gave it in charge to one of the common 
soldiers, to get it properly ploughed and sowed 
during his absence, promising him, by way of 
reward, the title of reformed captain. Lured 
by so sweet a bait, the soldier exceeded Bar- 
reda's expectation, and almost went beyond 
himself. From the rising to the setting of the 
sun, he made the oxen fly with the plough, 
and himself and his companions overflow with 
sweat, caused by toiling under a burning sun ; 



:,ii 'JJ;,! 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 

careless of the heat, of food and sleep, he 
laboured with such ardour, that his task was 
finished sooner than could have been ima- 
gined. Barreda, on his departure, by sound 
of drum, proclaimed this strenuous ploughman 
a reformed captain, to the surrounding troop 
of horse. But you will laugh to hear how 
transitory is human greatness. In less than 
three days, this new captain lost his dignity, 
and the favour of him who conferred it. It is 
worth while to relate the caus.e of his dis- 
grace, which will discover a shameful custom 
of the soldiers of St. lago. When absent, they 
are possessed with an incredible desire of home. 
Those who are sent to the colonies of the Abi- 
pones pursue their journey thither very tardily, 
but return with amazing quickness. They 
fatigue their horses with hurrying day and 
night, as, though they may have no wounds to 
show, they wish to present themselves at home, 
alive and safe, as soon as possible. From this 
extreme desire of revisiting their friends, it often 
happens that the soldiers, whilst striving with 
each other in haste, desert their leader. Bar- 
reda, in the journey I mentioned, was offended to 
find so very few soldiers remaining in his com- 
pany, and particularly at the absence of him 
whom he had named captain but a few days 
before. He sent a man forward to signify to 




74 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



him that he was degraded from his rank. 
Grieved and surprized at this intelligence, he 
condemned his own haste, and almost wept for 
the loss of his title. Landriel became his coun- 
sellor, and advised him to fill the horns, which 
they used for jugs, with fresh water, to carry 
them to Barreda, and say that he had hastened 
to fetch cold water from the river Turugon, 
as none was to be got within many leagues. 
Barreda, parching with thirst, was so pleased 
with this civility, that, not perceiving the deceit, 
he restored to the good man the title of cap- 
tain. I relate these unimportant circumstances 
to show you what a value the Spaniards set 
upon military titles. Hence, whenever you 
meet a Spaniard or half Spaniard in the coun- 
try, if you wish to avoid giving offence, be 
sure not to accost him by his name or surname 
alone, but always add his title, if he have any. 
If he be of the very lowest condition, call him 
Senor Cabo de esquadra, or Sehor Sargento. If 
you observe wrinkles in his forehead, grey hairs 
on his head, and shoes or boots on his feet, 
though his clothes be ever so shabby, you may 
have no hesitation in calling him captain : but 
if he have silver clasps to his bridle, brazen 
stirrups, (we generally use wooden ones,) spurs 
of silver, and a staff in his hand, be assured 
that he holds the title of Sargento Mayor, or. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 

Maestre cle Campo. In a noble city of Tucu- 
man, where I resided for some time, all the 
richer sort of people are called camp-masters, 
and in fact they are so ; for a knowledge of 
agriculture and the breeding of cattle is the 
sole means of maintenance and nobility to the 
inhabitants of that place. You would be 
thought a savage and fit to be hunted out 
of society, unless you made abundant use of 
these honourable appellations, which they seek 
with such ardor. A man of our order hap- 
pened, on a journey, to fall in with a Spaniard 
in a place where four roads met, and, whilst 
considering which way he should take, repeat- 
edly addressed his companion with the title 
of captain : till the man, thinking himself insult- 
ed, said, with a threatening look, "Good Father, 
how long will you continue to make me 
angry? You must either be a stranger, or 
very ignorant, since you don't know that I am 
?iSargento Mayor:'' so much displeasure do 
they evince if their ears are not gratified with 
their proper appellations. But they are not 
ashamed to be saluted with titles which do 
not really belong to them. I saw Barreda 
writing letters to the Governour of Tucuman, in 
which he honoured him with the title of colonel, 
though he was only lieutenant-colonel of a regi- 
ment of infantry. I reminded Barreda of this 




76 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



circumstance, thinking it must have slipped his 
memory. But he replied that he had written 
it purposely, not through forgetfulness : that 
I was unacquainted with the customs of Ame- 
rica, where it is necessary to politeness, to add 
one degree, at least, to a title of dignity. 



I! ' ' 'i 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES 



CHAPTER IX. 

OF THE ATROCITIES OF THE ABIPONES TOWARDS THE 
PEOPLE OF CORDOBA. 

Cordoba, the principal city of Tuciiman, a 
Bishop's see, contains an academy which was 
a few years back as famous as any in South 
America, and is extolled for its splendid edi- 
fices, and its opulent and honourable citizens. 
The ruler of Cordoba is not styled a Vice-Gover- 
nor, but a Viceroy. The situation of the city, 
which is washed by the little river Pucara, 
and surrounded by hills, is neither very plea- 
sant, nor very healthy. The country on the side 
of Sta. F^, and Buenos-Ayres, is a plain more 
than a hundred leagues in extent, of most fertile 
pasture-ground ; but the part looking towards 
the kingdom of Chili, and the territories of St. 
lago, is irregular, sometimes sinking into low 
vallies, sometimes rising into irriguous hills ; 
where feed an infinite multitude of cattle, horses, 
mules, and sheep, in which the principal and 
almost only riches of the Cordobans consist. 
This part of Tucuman, except the city, en- 
joys a healthy temperature, and a cool breeze 
arising from the vicinity of the mountains of 





78 



HISTORY OF THE ABTPONES. 



I I' 



Chili; the population is numerous, and the 
inhabitants frank, robust, and intelligent, 
but deserving of a better fortune in war' 
Larger woods of quince, pomegranate, orange 
and peach trees are no where to be seen : there 
are also figs, nuts, and other fruits peculiar 
to America. 

The land of Cordoba might be esteemed for- 
tunate, had the inhabitants ever been allowed 
to rest from the incursions of the Pampas, 
Abipones, and Mocobios. If, as I have related,' 
the rest of Paraguay was often disturbed by 
the inroads of the Abipones, the Cordobans 
were so tormented by their perpetual hostilities, 
that neither place nor season was free from 
fear and anxiety. Not only the remote and 
solitary estates, but even the immediate vicinity 
of the city was so confidently attacked by the 
Abipones, you would have thought that women 
only dwelt there, or that all the inhabitants were 
asleep. This extensive province always possess- 
ed sufficient numbers, and sufficient strength 
, to repel the Abipones ; the only things needed 
were courage and proper leaders, who by 
their example might animate the people to the 
defence of their country, direct the forces it 
contained to some advantage, and make use of * 
the strength that really existed : for certainly 



1(1'': 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



in no part of Paraguay were there to be found 
more expeditious horses and horsemen than 
here; not to mention the agility, and skill which 
the latter possessed in other respects, their 
height, singular strength, activity, and abund- 
ance of armour: for their superior opulence 
enables them, more easily than the other Spani- 
ards, to obtain the necessary instruments of 
war. Oh ! that the people of Cordoba would 
learn to know themselves, and their own 
strength ! that they would shake off their innate 
dread of the savages, whom they could easily 
vanquish, would they but summon up courage 
to make the attempt ! The Abipones, conscious 
that they were dreaded by the Cordobans, 
insolently reiterated their assaults, and gene- 
rally with impunity. The high-way leading to 
Peru, and to the cities of Buenos-Ayres and Sta. 
F^, was seldom free from carnage and robberies, 
never from danger: insomuch that travellers 
always either suffered or apprehended murder 
from the savages. There was no such thing as 
security. Neither the summits of the highest 
hills, nor the deepest recesses of the forests 
afforded any defence. The Abipones examined 
all places, like hounds, and seldom returned 
empty-handed. On St Joseph's day, before 
dawn, a vast troop of Abipones, under their 
leader Alaykin, burst into the estate of Sinsa- 



80 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



I I 



cate, which is about ten leagues distant from 
the city. This place was then administered by 
the secular priest Carranza. A great number 
of people, who had assembled the day before 
from the neighbouring estates, intending to be 
present at divine service in the church of Jesus 
and Mary, were there at that time. The savages 
either slew, or carried into captivity all they 
saw. The number of captives, Spaniards and 
Indians, was five and twenty : many more were 
slain, and the rest saved themselves by flight; 
every thing was plundered, and the mules and 
horses which filled the neighbouring fields, 
driven away. The estate was saved by the 
lofty walls of the church Jesus Maria, though 
it suffered a great loss of cattle. The soldiers 
of Cordoba, moved by the dreadful report, at 
last arrived from the city, that, though unable 
to restore life to the dead, they might at least 
procure the liberty of the crowd of captives. 
, They pursued the fugitive Abipones for some 
time, till their further progress was stopped by 
a vast lake, which, though crossed by the Indians 
without hesitation, seemed to the Cordobans 
an ocean impassable on horseback, and requiring 
the assistance of a boat; so that they were obli- 
ged to retire out of sight of the enemy. The 
people of Cordoba, notwithstanding that they 
excel in point of horsemanship, are littre 






HISTORY OF THE ABIFONES. 

qualified to pursue the savages, from their ina- 
bility to swim ; the cause of this deficiency is 
that most of them live in a place where swim- 
ming is not customary, or where there is no 
opportunity for practising it. There is a place, 
between Cordoba and St. lago, called Rio Seco. 
Scattered here and there in little vallies between 
the hills are great numbers of well-peopled 
estates, and cattle of every description. In 
this place is a large, elegant stone church, which 
owes its celebrity to an image of the Virgin 
Mary, and whither numbers flock from all parts, 
as it has been distinguished by. the favour of 
Heaven and the gifts of the pious. The Abi- 
pones had informed themselves of this circum- 
stance from their Spanish captives. The opu- 
lence of the place aflx)rded them great hopes of 
a rich booty. Having diligently examined 
every thing through their spies, they resolved 
to occupy the narrow straits of the rocks, and 
block up all the ways, to deprive the Spaniards 
of the means of flight. They either slew, or 
made captive, all they found in the neighbouring 
fields, and in the houses, without opposition : 
the whole country was devastated. An immense 
number of horses and mules were taken by the 
"savages. The church itself was forced, while 
-affording shelter to those who survived the 
massacre, and had fled thither for refuge. 

VOL. III. G 




82 



HISTORY OK THE ABI PONES. 



They broke open the door with an axe, though 
it was secured with bolts and plates of iron. 
These sacrilegious thieves carried away the 
sacred silver utensils, the bells of the tower, 
and even the image of the holy mother, with 
that of St. Joseph ; and when they had murdered 
all the inhabitants, and plundered all their pos- 
sessions, they departed laden with spoils, and 
the heads of the slain. But it so fell out by 
divine dispensation, that Barreda was just then 
meditating an excursion against the savages, at 
no great distance, and upon receiving informa- 
tion of this outrage of the Abipones, immediately 
flew thither with his followers. After pursuing 
the fugitives for a long time, day and night, he 
learned that they had separated into two com- 
panies and gone different ways. The height 
of his wishes was to rescue out of the hands of 
the savages the image of the divine mother, and 
though he hesitated a little which way to take, 
yet, by God's grace, he finally chose that which 
led to the party in possession of the holy image. 
Proceeding for some time with all speed, he 
at last surprizes the Abipones, sitting unsuspi- 
ciously on the ground while their horses were 
feeding in the pastures. The approach of the 
St. lagan soldiers being perceived, the infantry 
threw themselves into an adjacent wood. The 
Spaniards instantly flew to the baggage which 



I 



niSTOrxY OF THE ABIPONES. 



83 



the savages had relinquished, and joyfully dis- 
covered amongst the rest the image of the 
Virgin. The enemy's horses were collected and 
their saddles burnt. The wood was, for some 
time, surrounded on all sides by the soldiers ; 
but at length, the Abipones showed such obsti- 
nacy in their lurking-holes, and the horses were 
so weakened by three days' hunger and fatigue, 
that Barreda began to think of retreating. 
Nothing was ever heard of the image of St. 
Joseph, but most likely it was thrown into some 
deep marsh. This hostile aggression upon Rio 
Seco induced the Cordobans to surround that 
church with high stone walls, strengthened with 
four towers, that it might no longer be exposed 
to the injuries of the savages, and that, like the 
other colonists, they might defend themselves 
in those fortlets, on any impending danger. 

The Abipones penetrated also into the valley 
of Calamuchita, which, though inclosed by rocks, 
is rich in herds, at the instigation of a Negro 
slave, who, being offended by his master, chose 
to satiate his desire of vengeance by the hands 
of the savages, since he could not by his own. 
Much blood was shed there, and every thing 
plundered that came to hand. At Zumampa 
and the neighbouring places, slaughter and ra- 
pine were almost daily committed. The parish 
of St. Miguel in Rio, Verde was depopulated by 

g2 




S4 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



continual assaults. Those territories, especially, 
by which the Rio Segundo flows, were not 
only infested by the Abipones, but chosen by 
them as places of abode, where they laid in 
wait for travellers to Sta. Fe, or Buenos- Ayres. 
The place called Cruz alta afforded great oppor- 
tunities for pillaging. The terror excited by the 
slaughters committed there increased every 
day. On account of the magnitude of the 
danger, the waggons for conveying merchan- 
dise could never pass to and fro, except in 
large companies. The men appointed to defend 
the caravans, being generally of the very low- 
est order, unfurnished with muskets, armed 
with spears alone, and moreover entirely des- 
titute both of courage and vigilance, were every 
one slain. The Abipones seized the merchan- 
dise and the droves of horses and oxen, and 
burnt the waggons to ashes. These tragic 
events happened very frequently, and were most 
ruinous to traders. One, which is of more 
recent occurrence, I shall relate, and pass by the 
rest. Five and twenty Cordoban waggons 
bound to Sta. F^ were attacked by the Abi- 
pones, on their second day's journey, a few 
leagues from the city. The drivers and guards 
were all killed whilst sleeping, as usual, at 
mid-day, in the plains, (except one who was 
feeding the oxen on horseback.) Amongst 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



85 



the number of the slain was Father Diego Her- 
rera, a Jesuit, destined for the towns of the 
Guaranies ; he was only deprived of his clothes 
in the first attack, but lost his life in the second. 
A rosary, a square hat, and a habit were carried 
away by the savages as trophies, and the prayer- 
books scattered about the plain. Kebachichi, 
the leader of that expedition, wore the slain 
priest's robe and square hat at all pubhc drink- 
ing parties, in commemoration of the bloody 
deed. This man, who some years after resided 
in the town of St. Jeronymo, when upon a visit 
to us in the colony of Concepcion, requested 
my companion to give him a hat, and on being 
refused, said to the Father in a threatening tone, 
*' Dare you deny me a hat? Don't you know 
that I am a slayer of Fathers?" The Vice-Go- 
vernor of Sta. F^, to avenge those who had 
suffered the loss either of their lives or their 
properties, marched with some of his companies 
into Chaco; but the event did him little honour. 
He met with a horde of Abipones, but they 
falsely declared themselves innocent of the 
slaughters that had been committed. Mean- 
time the arrival of the Spaniards being spread 
throughout the neighbourhood, more and more 
companies of Abipones assembled, and at last 
raised such a numerous army, that the Vice- 
Governor thought it more advisable to treat the 

G 3 



86 



HISTOllY OF THE ABIPONES. 



i ''ii''i 



Abi pones with biscuit and other gifts as friends, 
than to assault them with balls and gunpowder 
as enemies; which cowardice in their general 
filled the soldiers with indignation. Fearing 
a dangerous return, he hastened toward the 
city, the Abipones pressing behind with equal 
speed. The soldiers themselves condemned 
this retreat; for impunity and the inactivity of 
some of the Spaniards renders the savages 
more and more bold in their attempts; yet they 
are astounded if any one summons up a little 
courage to oppose their assaults, and presents a 
musket in a threatening manner. This was found 
by Galarza, Viceroy of Cordoba, who, in re- 
turning from Buenos-Ayres with some waggons, 
encountered Kebachichi and a troop of Abipones. 
Galarza, seeing the enemy at hand, leapt from 
his horse, that he might more conveniently make 
use of his musket. But whilst he was hastily 
tucking up his travelling-dress that it might 
not retard him in using his arms, his horse took 
fright and ran away, and being furnished with 
precious trappings, and with pistols, was 
stopped by an Abipon, But none of them 
dared approach the enemy's waggons, because 
they were defended by Galarza, who was armed 
with a musket. The enemy were deterred from 
plundering the waggons, and slaying the attend- 
ants, by Galarza's presence of mind, and by the 



HISTOliY OF THE ABI PONES. 



87 



sight of this musket, which was nevertheless 
incapable of doing any harm. But he could 
not prevent the oxen and horses, which were at 
a distance from the waggons, from being carried 
oiF. The neighbouring fortification of Mazan- 
gani seems to have deterred these two and 
twenty Abipones from attempting any thing 
further. Whenever I heard this fortification 
spoken of, I figured to myself a place fortified 
with ditches, trenches, walls, mounds, artillery 
and a garrison. But how was I deceived ! In 
travelling from Buenos-Ayres to Cordoba, I 
perceived Mazangani to be a square area, scarce 
fifty feet in diameter, and hedged round with 
trunks, and thorny boughs of trees. At the 
side of it stands a miserable hut covered with 
straw, and built of sticks and mud, inhabited 
by a poor wretched man who there exercises 
the several functions of Governor, garrison, and 
watchman ; for he ascends a high tree placed 
in the middle of the court to discover if any 
savages are to be seen in the surrounding plain. 
In order to deter them from approaching, and 
at the same time to apprize the neighbourhood 
of their arrival, he fires a cannon. This is a 
faithful description of that terrible fortress. 
Yet those who reached it thought themselves, 
as it were, in port. From this you may judge 
how little was necessary to repel those heroic 

g4 



88 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



savages. 



But rendered daily bolder by fre- 
quent experiments, they learnt at last to de- 
spise these little fortresses : for by casting fire 
with their arrows they easily burnt the hedges, 
the cottages, and the defenders of them. Hence 
the Spaniards, for the preservation of their 
safety, erected little stone or brick fortresses 
in various places, and strengthened them with 
warlike machines. 

The plain called El Tio, which lies between 
Sta. F^ and Cordoba, is uninhabited for almost 
thirty leagues, and consequently dangerous to 
travellers ; for not only the desert, but also a 
long wood which crosses the plain ground 
from North to South, affords the Abipones an 
opportunity of pillaging and making surprizes, 
especially at El Pozzo Redondo ; for after a 
great deal of dry weather, in this vast plain not 
a drop of water is to be found, nor a bit of 
wood to make a fire with; but both are supplied 
by the lake called El Pozzo Redondo, which 
is near a wood. To travellers, therefore, who 
have crossed the plain and are parching with 
thirst, nothing is more desirable than this lake, 
and at the same time nothing is more formi- 
dable, since they cannot reach it without risking 
their lives; for in this place the Mocobios 
and Abipones lie in wait for the Spaniards, 
whom they knov^ to be in the habit of travelling 



HISTORY or THE ABIPONES. 



89 



by it. I have twice taken a journey to El Pozzo 
Redondo, accompanied by four Spaniards. The 
first time we were in great trepidation from the 
memory of slaughters recently committed there; 
on the second we had nothing but inconveni- 
ence to endure, a two years' drought having 
entirely dried up the lake. We and all our 
horses must have perished with thirst, had not 
a great quantity of rain fallen that night, accom- 
panied with thunder. To increase the general 
consternation, our guide told us that a certain 
Spaniard, in the service of the Royal Governor, 
who had attended many campaigns in Europe, 
formerly passed a night in this place. To the 
affirmations of the Paraguayrian soldiers who 
accompanied him, that this place was dangerous 
from being liable to the insidious attacks of 
the Abipones, he boastingly replied, that those 
American pillagers were more worthy of deri- 
sion than of dread. But the Abipones assailing 
them the next day, he was so terrified at their 
yells and their very aspect, that he suffered 
every indignity to which cowards are liable. 
The savages carried off the horses, and what- 
ever else pleased their fancies. The European 
hero owed his life to bis Paraguayrian compa- 
nions, and learnt to fear what he had thought a 
jest the day before. But during the latter 
years of my residence in Paraguay, the plain 



90 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



of El Tio was placed in security. Fortifica- 
tions were erected in two places, where a 
company of soldiers keeps continual watch, 
and daily reconnoitres those parts whence the 
approach of the savages is apprehended. Ever 
since Alvarez, master of the horse, was pre- 
ferred to the command of these guards, great 
restraint has been put upon the licence of the 
savages, who before left nothing untouched, 
nothing unattempted. I myself have witnessed 
what universal dread they excited, when we 
sixty Europeans, accompanied by some Spa- 
nish natives, performed a journey of one hun- 
dred and forty leagues, from the port of 
Buenos- Ayres, where we had landed a little 
before, to Cordoba. Our company consisted 
of about a hundred waggons, each drawn by 
four oxen, but the number was doubled when 
they had to cross marshes : the driver goads 
them on with a long pole, armed with a spike, 
and a horseman generally goes before to show 
the way. These heavy waggons are supported 
by two huge wheels, and have an arch at the 
top covered with a hide, that the rain may run 
off them. The sides are sometimes enclosed 
with boards, sometimes with mats, and have 
the appearance of a basket. No iron is em- 
ployed in any part of them. In the hind part 
where the door is, there is a ladder to ascend 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



91 



by ; in front there is a window. Each waggon 
is generally occupied by one person, some- 
times by two, and serves for house, bed, and 
dining-room ; for in the midst is placed a mat- 
tress, on which you are conveyed along, with a 
jolting that, for the two or three first days, pro- 
duces vomiting, like sea-sickness. Most of the 
journey is performed in the night, for the oxen 
cannot long bear the heat of the sun in the day- 
time. Six pair of oxen are assigned to each 
waggon, that they may relieve one another in 
the labour. To watch and feed so great a 
number of cattle, many guards are necessary, 
each of which have need of many horses. 
Neither they nor the drivers, nor the men who 
ride before the waggons, are supplied with any 
other food except beef, which is also the daily 
fare of the travellers in the waggons ; so that 
a great many oxen are consumed every day 
to satisfy so many hungry stomachs. From 
this you may judge how great must be the 
number of men and beasts, when a hundred, or 
more frequently two hundred, waggons of this 
kind, travel a hundred and forty leagues of 
desert land together ; and, good heavens ! what 
a noise they make ! for the wheels are never 
greased ; they even catch fire sometimes by the 
continual friction of the wooden axle, and wrap 
the waggon itself in flames. Excepting a few 



92 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



estates and cottages in the neighbourhood of 
Buenos-Ayres and Cordoba, you find nothing 
but a plain, void of inhabitants, buildings, 
trees, rivers, or hills, but abounding in horses,' 
wild asses, emus, does, skunks (zorrinos,) and 
tigers. Fuel and fresh water are forced to be 
carried for the daily consumption of the tra- 
vellers. We were often obliged to drink the 
muddy rain water which remains in the ditches, 
though the very beasts, unless parching with 
thirst, would have refused it. This immense 
wilderness which we had entered daily threat- 
ened us with fresh difficulties and fresh dan- 
gers, greater than any we had experienced in 
a three months' voyage on the ocean. Scarce 
a day or night passed without tidings of the 
Spanish scouts having seen the footsteps of the 
savages, or heard their whistles or pipes; in 
consequence of which, most of the waggons 
were daily placed in the form of a circle, for 
their mutual defence, and furnished with spears 
and muskets. But whenever the Spaniards 
recollected how many former travellers had 
fallen into the hands of the Indians, in these 
parts, they thought the very rustling of the 
grass a harbinger of the approach of the Abi- 
pones, and whilst the veteran natives of Para- 
guay were thus alarmed at shadows, they 
inspired us novices in America with continual 



94 



HISTORY OF THE A BI PONES. 



CHAPTER X. 

OF THE FRUITLESS EXCURSIONS OF THE CORDOBANS 
AGAINST THE ABIPONES. 

What! you exclaim, did the minds of the 
Cordobans at last grow callous to so much 
slaughter ?— Were they so tame as never to 
think of revenge ?-Did Cordoba want men, or 
arms, or strength ? In neither of these requi- 
sites was that flourishing city deficient. The 
Cordobans have always in readiness twelve 
thousand men fit to bear arms. Cordoba 
abounds in swift and strong horses. The bodies 
of the inhabitants are strong and vigorous, and 
their minds filled with the desire of military 
glory ; they might not only put the Abipones 
to flight, but reduce the whole province of 
Chaco : in short, they might do every thing 
against the savages, did not the vain fear with 
which they are possessed make them despair 
of doing any thing. Whilst depressed by the 
recollection of the slaughters they had suffer- 
ed, they thought victory must always attend the 
Abipones ; they dared attempt nothing against 
them, and were thus forsaken by fortune, 
which usually favours the brave. I will here 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



95 



describe some expeditions of the Cordobans, 
the issue of which was always either unfortu- 
nate or ridiculous. 

The Abipones laid waste the territories of 
Rio Segundo, and some Cordoban forces were 
sent out to repress them. The enemy was over- 
taken in the open plain. On one side stood 
the Spaniards, on the other the Abipones, in 
battle-array. They threatened one another 
for a long time, but no one had courage to 
begin the attack, till at last an Abipon leapt 
from his horse, approached the ranks of the 
Spaniards, and challenged one of them to single 
combat. Many of the soldiers would have been 
willing enough to engage with this bold one, 
but the leader of the expedition forbade them 
to stir hand or foot, under pain of death; 
perceiving which, the Abipones slowly depart- 
ed, each his own way, leaving the Spaniards to 
themselves. The Cordoban captains acted in 
the same way on other occasions, and by thus 
betraying their own fear, rendered the savages 
still bolder in their projects. To pacify the 
minds of the people, endless expeditions were 
undertaken against Chaco, but all unsuccess- 
ful. There were many causes for this. These 
delicate warriors always drove before them a 
vast number of horses and oxen, consequently 
the journey was retarded by the multitude of 



96 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



beasts. The number of captains was too great 
in proportion to that of soldiers ; there were too 
many to give commands and too few to execute 
them. Besides laden mules, they carried a 
good many waggons for conveying provisions, 
which are always sure to impede a journey. 
Moreover, the Commander-in-chief made use of 
a chariot for show. I myself saw a place in 
Chaco where that chariot and all the waggons 
were burnt by the Cordobans, when, surrounded 
by pools and marshes, they could neither go 
back nor forwards. Doubtless the ways which 
led to the retreats of the savages in Chaco, 
were dangerous to the Indians themselves. 
The nature of the soil is such, that after a long 
cessation of rain, it grows as dry as a flint, and 
denies even the little birds wherewith to drink ; 
but if the showers be frequent, you will not 
find an inch of dry ground to walk or lie down 
upon. As the plain is varied neither by foun- 
tains, hills, nor stones, but runs out into a vast 
extent of even ground, covered with turf, when 
deluged with rain it presents the appearance 
of a lake. At other times the road is inter- 
cepted by marshes and overflowing rivers, 
which occasion delay, even if the soldiers can 
overcome them by swimming ; but if this be 
not the case, they are entirely prevented from 
proceeding, being unprovided with bridges or 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



97 



skiffs. The place of these is supplied, as I have 
said, by the pelota ; but, as those vessels are ca- 
pable of holding but one man at once, much time 
will be consumed whilst four hundred sojdiers 
are transported, in this manner, to the opposite 
shore ; and likewise so much noise must neces- 
sarily be made during the process, that the 
enemy, apprized of their arrival, will either 
take to speedy flight, or rush on the Spaniards 
whilst unprepared and separated from one ano- 
ther by the river. If, therefore, you would 
know the chief reason why the Spaniards so 
often returned ingloriously home from Chaco, 
without even obtaining a sight of the savages, 
it was that they could not swim. 

Of this I had a most creditable witness in 
Landriel, who sometimes acted as guide to the 
Cordobans in their expeditions into Chaco; 
and under whose conduct they arrived, after 
many days journey, at the eastern shore of the 
river Malabrigo, on the opposite side of which 
the Abipones Riikahes were accustomed to 
pitch their tents. It was a difficult matter to 
discover their lurking-holes, to attack which 
was the object of the expedition ; the whole 
plain being deluged with water to such a degree 
that no traces of either man or beast could be 
found there. The only things that appeared 
above the surface of the water were some large 



VOL. III. 



H 



98 



JIISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



ant-hills, from one of which Landriel perceived 
that a honeycomb had been lately taken. This 
circumstance led him to conjecture that the 
Abipones must be somewhere near, and after 
much search he discovered a large horde of 
them, which might have been attacked, con- 
quered, plundered, and destroyed on the same 
day, had Landriel brought soldiers of St. lago, 
Corrientes, or Sta. F^, all excellent swimmers, 
instead of Cordobans who are ignorant of that 
art ; for as they drew nigh to the hostile horde, 
it was necessary to cross the river Malabrigo, 
which, being at that time greatly overflowed, 
would neither suffer a bridge, nor allow of being 
forded. The soldiers might all have been trans- 
ported to the opposite shore on a hide, but 
they foresaw that a passage of this kind could 
not be effected in less than a day, whatever 
haste were employed. Meantime the Abipones, 
roused by the noise of the Spaniards, or by the 
neighing of their horses alone, would have 
placed their families in safety, and undoubtedly 
attacked and routed the Cordobans, who were 
never formidable to them, and would be still 
less so at that time, when their forces were 
divided by the river. After discussing these mat- 
ters, they concluded that it was most advisable 
to hasten their return, which they did, falling, 
rather than marching ; for the way had been- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



99 



rendered slippery from the inundation, and 
dangerous on account of the deep holes under- 
neath the water. Numberless multitudes of 
wild oxen had formerly filled the plain, and the 
bulls by tearing the ground with their horns, 
as is usual with them when enraged, had occa- 
sioned those numerous holes : which are the 
more dangerous to horsemen because when 
covered with water they cannot be seen i many 
of them are one cubit deep, and equally wide. 
If any of the Cordobans slipped into one of 
these holes, his comrades all followed him, and 
fell in too, and when Landriel advised them to 
turn their horses a little to the right or the left, 
for the sake of avoiding the ditch where their 
companion had fallen, they seldom attended to 
his admonitions, saying, " It is true we saw 
our fellow-soldier fall in there, but we also saw 
him get safely out again. If we go another 
way we shall perhaps fall into a deeper ditch, 
whence we may not rise without inj ury." These 
holes are properly called by the Spaniards 
pozzos, or wells, because they receive the rain- 
water, and preserve it a long time for the use 
of travellers, when the plains and woods are 
parched by a dry season. From what I have 
related you may collect, that the expeditions of 
the Cordobans into Chaco, so far from subduing 
and overawing the savages, served only to con- 

H 2 




100 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



firm them in their disposition to pkmder; indeed 
they became more unrestrained in their attacks 
upon the colonists of Cordoba, in proportion as 
they became more fully convinced of the imbe- 
cihty of the Cordoban soldiers, whom they 
believed incapable of returning injury for in- 
jury, slaughter for slaughter, and deterred from 
venturing into Chaco by the difficulties of the 
journey thither. To ensure the safety of the 
merchants, soldiers w^ere at last hired to keep 
guard continually over those places. The tax 
laid on the herb of Paraguay, which is con- 
veyed in waggons into Peru, was the chief 
source of the money for paying the soldiers. 
But this provision, though it thoroughly drained 
the purses of the merchants, did not much 
lessen the boldness or frequency of these rob- 
beries, the savages sometimes craftily deceiving 
this little band of soldiers, sometimes intimi- 
dating it with superior numbers. It is true 
that when most part of the Mocobios and Abi- 
pones were settled by us in the colonies, the 
province, deUvered from so many enemies, began 
to breathe once more. The remainder of both 
nations, who still wandered without these colo- 
nies, though they disturbed and laid waste the 
country of Sta. F^ and Asumpcion, hardly ever 
attempted any hostilities against the territories 
of Cordoba ; which tranquillity they owed to 



m 



HISTORY OF THE 7VBIPONES. 



101 



Alvarez, captain at Rio Segimdo, and to Bena- 
vides commander at Rio Seco. As soon as those 
brave men took upon themselves the direction 
of military affairs the Cordobans became bolder, 
and the Abipones m'bre timid in their attacks, 
especially after one of them had been taken in 
the plain by a Cordoban soldier, and the for- 
midable Pachiek^, son of the Cacique Alaykin, 
slain. When we returned to Europe, almost 
all the Abipones deserted the colonies we had 
founded and taken care of. Weary of the peace 
and friendship which had been established be- 
tween them and the Spaniards, they resumed 
their arms, with what success is best known to 
those who had to contend with the savases, 
enraged and distracted at our departure. I 
have shown how formidable and destructive 
the savage tribe of Abipones was to the whole 
province, and how little the arms of the Spa- 
niards availed to check and restrain them. 
What fruit we had of our endeavours in sub- 
duing and reclaiming them is yet to be related. 



H 3 




102 



HISTORY OF TME ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XI. 



OF THE FREQUENT ENDEAVOURS OF THE JESUITS IN 
REDUCING THE ABIPONES TO OBEDIENCE UNDER THE 
KING OF SPAIN AND CONVERTING THEM TO THE 
CATHOLIC RELIGION. 

Amongst those who in the last century inte- 
rested themselves in the conversion of the Abi- 
pones, Father Juan Pastor, a Spaniard, merits 
the first place. Long celebrated for his apos- 
toUcal missions to the Indians, he was made 
master of the college at St. lago del Estero, 
when he conceived the project of visiting the 
Abipones, and, if he found them tractable, of 
instructing them in Christianity. They were 
then dwelling above a hundred and sixty leagues 
from the city of St. lago. The difficulty and 
ruggedness of the roads were almost greater 
than you can conceive; but the perseverance 
of this intrepid man overcame every thing. 
He chose for his companion Father Caspar 
Cerqueira, a native of Paraguay, who under- 
stood the Tonocote language, which is used by 
many nations, and was of much service to him 
in this great expedition. After crossing a vast 
wilderness of nearly a hundred leagues, they 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



103 



turned aside for a while amongst the Matar^ 
Indians, who, though they had all received 
baptism, and were governed in one colony by 
a secular priest, had little more than the name 
of Christians. Barzana and Anasco, priests of 
our order, and before them St. Solano, had 
certainly not been useless amongst them; but 
the lapse of time had entirely eradicated from 
their minds whatever they had learnt of Chris- 
tianity. Drunkenness was daily practised 
amongst them. The rites which they yearly 
celebrated to the souls of the departed were 
moistened with drink, more than with tears. 
Maize, ground by the teeth of old women, and 
fermented in water, served them for wine. 
Each was ordered to bring with him an emu, 
to furnish out the funeral table. After feasting 
three days they devoted one hour to weeping 
and lamentations, and then wiped away their 
tears and returned to their cups and dainties. 
When heated with liquor, they frequently pol- 
luted these anniversaries with quarrels, strife, 
' wounds, and mutual slaughter. 

Their pious guests Pastor and Cerqueira 
spared no pains to obliterate the memory of so 
great an impiety committed by a people who 
called themselves Christians. They never ceased 
day or night to admonish them of their duty : and 
their private conversations and public sermons 

h4 



mii 



104 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 






ms 



in the church effected so much that many, 
after confession, sincerely promised amend- 
ment. I have seen a few remnants of this 
nation which are still surviving in a wretched 
little town called Matara, on the banks of the 
Salado. In former times they were in subjec- 
tion to some private individuals, Spaniards of 
St. lago, and, though once numerous, fell away 
by degrees. After some days' stay, the Fathers 
pursued their journey to the Abipones, accom- 
panied by the curate of the place and the prin- 
cipal Caciques, with a company of soldiers, who 
hoped, by means of the Fathers, to regain the 
friendship of the Abipones, between whom and 
their nation an ancient and bloody feud existed. 
The Fathers had certainly much need of their 
company. Sixty leagues of the journey still 
remained, through an unknown country, full 
of woods, lakes, and marshes. Had they not 
had the Mataras for guides and protectors, 
they could neither have safely undertaken such 
a journey, nor prudently proceeded to the busi- 
ness they came upon. They were obhged to 
creep for a long time through trackless woods, 
and at every step to struggle with briers, which 
generally proved a bloody contest. To assuage 
the burning thirst occasioned by extreme heat 
and bodily fatigue, they could meet with no- 
thing but stinking water out of pools and 



m 



HISTORY or THE ABIPONES. 



105 



ditches, which offended their nostrils to such a 
degree that the poor creatures almost thought 
thirst preferable. They could not turn their 
eyes without perceiving traces of tigers, nor 
move a step without meeting swarms of gnats 
and other insects : insomuch that the stings of 
the one, and the apprehension of the other, 
prevented them from resting at night, though 
sore fatigued in the day-time. Issuing from 
the woods into the open plain, they found 
themselves surrounded by continuous marshes 
occasioned by the inundations of the river Ber- 
mejo, which, deserting its channel, spreads to 
the extent of five leagues. A vast plain, white 
with waters, presented itself to their eyes. By 
the number of difficulties you may judge how 
great must have been the courage of the Fathers, 
who not only endured them unrepiningly them- 
selves, but by their example inspired patience 
into their Indian companions. Vanquished by 
none of the asperities of the way they all per- 
severed in their journey, till they reached the 
territories of the Abipones. 

When two leagues distant from their stations, 
fearing that the Abipones would take them for 
enemies, they halted awhile in that place, at- 
tended with guards, whose flight was more 
apprehended by the Fathers than an attack 
from the Abipones ; for they well knew that the 



106 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



!i,Wl 



Matar^s trembled at the very name of these 
savages, and were half dead with fear at the 
idea of being so near them. The eloquence of 
the Fathers was scarce sufficient to do away 
their fears. To ascertain that all was safe, it 
was intrusted to Father Cerqueira to go for- 
ward with two companions, and endeavour to 
find out some method of presenting himself to 
the Abipones and entering their hordes, with- 
out being suspected of hostile intentions. The 
Father had scarcely gone a league when he 
met a troop of two hundred Abipones, who had 
been apprized, by their emissaries, of the ar- 
rival of foreigners. Approaching them, of his 
own accord, he spoke to the savages in the 
Tonocot^ language, which many of the Abi- 
pones, at that time, were acquainted with. 
" You are greatly mistaken," said he, " if you 
imagine that I am alarmed at seeing you, which 
is the very thing that I most desire. After 
crossing immense wildernesses, and struggling 
through an hundred dangers for your sake, I am 
here at last. Do not take me for an enemy, 
nor cherish unkindly feelings towards me. Be- 
hold I come unarmed to teach you the way to 
happiness. If you have your own welfare at 
heart, do not reject the Author of it in me, but 
rather look upon me as a friend, and as the 
messenger of the great Creator of all things." 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



107 



The savages, satisfied by this harangue, ex- 
changed threats for welcomes, and emulated 
one another in showing civilities to him whom 
at first they had surrounded with arms. The 
Father took advantage of this happy disposition 
in his favour, and informed them that another 
Father, of the same mind as himself, remained 
a short way behind with a few companions, 
and that he was coming laden with scissars, 
hooks, needles, and glass-beads, with which he 
intended liberally to remunerate those who 
would listen to the law of God. The Cacique 
of the neighbouring horde, instigated by the 
expectation of these trifling gifts, commanded 
his son, with a proper attendance, to bring 
Father Past6r speedily to him. On his ap- 
proach he was received in the neighbouring 
horde with public marks of rejoicing, and a 
festive percussion of the lips, and accosted by 
the name of the Great Father. After ex- 
plaining the reasons of his coming, he dis- 
tributed amongst those present, the pins, and 
other gifts above-mentioned. Food was then 
produced, which the guests, in spite of their 
hunger, would gladly have been excused from 
tasting ; for it consisted of stinking fish, with 
no other sauce than the good-will of the givers. 
But the Fathers, that they might not appear 
to despise this savage delicacy, forced them- 



108 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



selves to taste some of it, though against their 
stomachs. The next day. Father Past6r, plant- 
ing a cross in the ground, dedicated that land 
to Christ, and performed divine service in a 
tent, at the conclusion of which, he led round 
the Abipones, in the manner of supplicants, 
and taught them to kneel before the cross. 
The savages behaved wonderfully well on this 
occasion, listening with attentive ears and 
minds to the preacher whilst he explained to 
them the reasons of his coming, and the heads 
of the holy religion. Caliguila, then chief 
Cacique of that nation, greatly approved of 
their words, and conducted both Fathers, with 
much honour, to his horde on the opposite 
shore of the Bermejo. There they were re- 
ceived with joyful acclamations, and eagerly 
attended to, whilst they endeavoured to instruct 
the savages in the Christian faith, and to instil 
into their minds a sense of religion. The re- 
port of their arrival spreading throughout the 
neighbourhood, the concourse of strangers in- 
creased every day. Caliguila permitted our 
religion to be promulgated amongst his people. 
He publicly declared that the Fathers were at 
liberty to build a little church, to baptize in- 
fants, and to instruct them in the ordinances of 
Christianity; with this condition, that the young 
men were not to be detained before and after 



itiMiH^ 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



109 



noon in long prayers and ceremonies, lest 
inactivity and sedentary habits should damp 
their martial ardour, and lessen their dexterity 
in the use of arms. But the Fathers denied 
that this alacrity and military knowledge were 
destroyed by the exercises of piety, and this 
they proved by the example of the Spanish 
youth. Caliguila, however, besought the Fathers 
in the name of the rest, that they would allow 
the boys always to carry a bow and arrows, 
even during divine service, that they might 
never run the risk of being endangered by a 
sudden attack from the enemy whilst unpro- 
vided with arms. This proposal they willingly 
acceded to, as it contained nothing repug- 
nant to the laws of Christianity. But the 
Fathers had occasion repeatedly to warn the 
savages, who still savoured of their ancient 
superstitions, from the performance of their 
old rites of sepulture and divination. 

The conditions on both sides being accepted, 
the cross which they had made of a lofty palm 
tree, was erected in that place with many reve- 
rential ceremonies. The Abipones were instruct- 
ed in the heads of religion, in daily assemblies, 
all their savage customs and notions extirpated, 
and persons of every age fortified against the 
artifices of the jugglers. Father Pastor, seeing 
an aged female of this profession on the point of 




110 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



death, vainly endeavoured to administer bap- 
tism to her. The obstinate old woman with- 
stood the earnest exhortations of the father 
whether he promised her the eternal joys of 
Heaven, or threatened her with torments from 
the evil spirit. She replied, with a laugh, that 
she had httle occasion to fear the evil demon, 
with whom she had been familiar so many 
years. But others of better understanding- 
began to believe what the Fathers told them 
and openly to distrust the arts and words of 
the jugglers. To sum up all, by continual per- 
severance they wrought so much, that in a few 
weeks, they joyfully beheld something like 
Christianity beginning to flourish amongst°these 
savages. 

Father Cerqueira returning to the Matar^s, 
Juan Past6r redoubled his efforts. Though 
enfeebled by age, and with strength by no 
means athletic, he built a little hut of sticks 
and straw, and plastered it over with mud 
In a short time, he wrote out with much 
labour, an epitome of the Abiponian tongue ; 
ot this vocabulary, when I was there, nothing 
but the memory remained. But alas! these 
flourishing hopes of the improvement of the 
Abipones were all destroyed by an unexpected ^ 
messenger, who called Juan Past6r home on 
urgent business. Nor was there at that time 



^mttrnm 



HISTORY OF THE A Bl PONES. 



HI 



any one to supply his place, so great was the 
scarcity of priests of our order. Father Loza- 
no, in his History of Chaco, says, that Pastor 
was sent to Europe to treat of the affairs of the 
province in the courts of Rome and Madrid, 
and that he had collected out of various coun- 
tries, and intended to bring into Paraguay, 
the number of Jesuits necessary for the settling 
of so many savages. But just as he was going 
to set sail with his apostolical supplies, he 
received letters from the Royal Senate, at 
Madrid, prohibiting him from carrying any 
foreigners into Paraguay. In consequence of 
which he was obliged to send back the other 
priests into their native countries, and with a 
very few Spaniards, for the most part young 
men, and according to our established rule, unfit 
to be ordained for many years, sailed to Para- 
guay, still labouring under the want of priests for 
so great a number of colonies. This decree of 
the rulers of Madrid, excluding all foreign 
priests from Paraguay, was certainly extremely 
disadvantageous to the Spaniards themselves. 
For if those German, Italian, and Flemish 
Jesuits had arrived in Paraguay, doubtless, by 
their labours, the Abipones, Tobas, and Moco- 
bios would have been induced to submit to 
the authority of the King of Spain, and to re- 
ceive the Catholic rehgion; whilst, left for 





If 



112 HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 

nearly a century in their savage state, they 
over-ran the whole province with hostile, and 
generally victorious arms. 

But when, from her decreased population. 
Spam could no longer supply priests sufficient 
for the vast provinces of America, the court of 
Madrid not only invited foreign Jesuits whom 
they had formerly excluded from Paraguay, 
but even had them carried thither at the ex- 
pense of the government, and to the great 
advantage of the monarchy. It would be end- 
less to mention, individually, all the Italians 
Flemmgs, and Germans, who, for many years^ 
have rendered signal service to the Spanish 
monarchy, and the Christian religion, in Para- 
guay and the other provinces of Spanish 
America, m our times. This honour has some- 
times been envied to foreigners, but never 
denied them. 



^Ammia^^ 



HISTORY OF THE ABI PONES. 



113 



CHAPTER XII. 

A COLONY FOUNDED FOR THE MOCOBIOS AFTERWARDS 
THE OCCASION, OF ABIPONIAN COLONIES. 

The Spaniards, weakened by daily slaughters, 
were extremely desirous of procuring a peace 
with the savages, whom, for so many years, 
they had proved unable to vanquish by arms. 
Instructed by the experience of other nations, 
they were persuaded that the friendship of the 
Abipones and Mocobios could never be either 
obtained, or preserved, unless these people 
surrendered themselves to our instructions in 
civiHzation and religion. And nothing was more 
desired by the Jesuits, than the discovery of 
some means whereby the savages might be in- 
duced to inhabit the colonies founded for them. 
The Royal Governors of cities were liberal in 
their offers of assistance ; but they seldom, or 
in a very limited manner, fulfilled their promises. 
Satisfied when the Abipones were driven by 
our means, into a new town, and kept from 
plunder, they left the care of feeding and cloth- 
ing them entirely to us. They thought it a 
mighty performa^nce to build a few huts of wood 
and mud in a new colony, to serve as chapels 

VOL. III. I 




114 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



and dwelling-houses for us and the Indians. 
These being completed in a day or two, by the 
hasty labours of the soldiers, they sent high- 
flown letters both to the Viceroy of Peru, and 
the court of Madrid, in which they declared 
themselves the founders of a new town, and the 
conquerors of a savage nation. But if those 
worthy Governors were really solicitous for the 
safety of the province committed to their care, 
and the firm establishment of the Indians whom 
they had delivered to our instructions, they 
should have made a point of furnishing every new 
colony with herds of oxen and flocks of sheep, 
with axes and other agricultural instruments, lest 
the savage inhabitants, from want of meat for 
daily consumption, of wool for weaving gar- 
ments, and of ploughs for daily use, should be 
obliged to subsist by plunder or hunting, to 
wander without the colony, return to their 
native woods, and, destitute of all necessaries, 
to declare, that they looked upon war as more to 
their advantage than such a peace. But of 
this subject I shall treat more fully in another 
place. The city of Sta. Fe formerly cultivated, 
more than any of the rest, the friendship of the 
Abipones and Mocobios, some troops of whom, 
on the strength of a peace established between 
them, stationed themselves in the plains adjacent 
to the city, and were permitted to enter the 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



115 



tnarket-place for the purpose either of buying 
what they needed, or of disposing of what they 
had taken from the other Spaniards, v/ith whom 
they were still at variance. They frequently 
visited our college. By daily intercourse with 
the Spaniards their ferocity gradually disap- 
peared, and Aletin and Chitalin^ chief Caciques 
of the Mocobios, were rendered so tractable by 
the presents and conversation of the Jesuits, 
that they refused not to be instructed in the holy 
religion along with their people. The Spaniards 
and Jesuits thought they should be well repaid 
for their labours, could they but induce a nation 
so formidable for numbers and military valour, 
to submit to God and the King. A colony was 
founded by Father Francisco Burges Navarro, 
a few leagues from the city, and distinguished 
by the name of St. Xavier. At first it only 
contained twenty families, but received such 
accessions from multitudes of fresh comers, 
that it increased beyond the expectation of all. 
As they were but a few in the beginning, the 
Fathers, by the liberality of the Spanish, but 
still more of the Guarany towns, were enabled 
so fully to satisfy, not only the necessities, but 
even the desires of the savages, that, deserting 
their predatory habits, they all rejoiced in 
their fortune, and instigated their countrymen, 
who dwelt more towards the North, to embrace 

i2 






•l: 



116 



HISTORY OF THE ABI PONES. 



th© same kind of life. The other Mocobios 
without the colony of St. Xavier, who, scorning 
the example of their countrymen, still continued 
to rove up and down their own territories, re- 
ceived a complete overthrow from Barreda, a few 
being slain, and about two hundred taken pri- 
soners. Those who survived this slaughter, fled 
for fear, to the colony of St. Xavier, whither, 
likewise, the excellent Barreda afterwards sent 
many of his captives. 

The colony, as it increased in the number of 
its inhabitants, made great progress in religious 
knowledge. Aflairs assumed an extremely 
favourable aspect, much more so than, from the 
ferocity of the savages, could a short while 
before have been expected. Their native cus- 
toms were exterminated; whatever savoured of 
barbarism and superstition was abolished, and 
succeeded by virtues of every kind. Persons 
of all ages received religious instruction and 
baptism, whenever they proved themselves 
worthy of it. They were as obedient in per- 
forming whatever was enjoined them, as docile 
in believing whatever they heard. Accustomed 
to spears and arrows, they nevertheless ac- 
counted it a pleasure to handle the plough and 
the axe, and to employ themselves in tilling 
the fields and in building houses. Two schools 
were opened, in the one of which children learnt 




HISTORY OF THE ABirONES. 



117 



the arts of reading and writing, and in the other 
were instructed in music, and taught to play 
upon the musical instruments used in churches. 
One of their masters was Father Florian Pauke, 
a Silesian, by whose instructions many were 
rendered musicians and singers, and formed an 
agreeable addition to divine service. This being 
known throughout the province, the Mocobian 
musicians were invited to the cities of Buenos- 
Ayres and Sta. F^, where they chaunted mass 
and vespers, accompanied by a full band of 
instruments. The sweet symphony excited the 
admiration of all the Spaniards, and even drew 
tears from many of them, when they thought 
of the terror which, a few years before, the 
parents of the young musicians had inspired 
them with, whenever their savage trumpets and 
loud shouts were heard in repeated assaults, 
. I have no sort of doubt, that both the com- 
mencement and progress of the fresh colony, 
under God, were chiefly owing to the exertions 
and good example of Aletin and Chitalin. The 
former, who was remarkable for the gentleness 
of his disposition and for natural probity, never 
neglected any thing conducive to the improve- 
ment of his people. He was always the first 
to attend divine service in the morning, and the 
holy institutions for teaching Christianity at 
mid-day. Standing by the little chapel with 

I 3 



118 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



a brazen bell in his hand, he called to the per- 
formance of their religious duties, those very- 
people, whom he had formerly animated by 
sound of trumpet to slaughter the Spaniards. 
Ifany violation of integrity came under his notice, 
he either immediately corrected it himself, or 
requested one of the Fathers, to do so, whom 
he always honoured with the promptest obe- 
dience, and manifested the utmost alacrity 
in serving. In this alone he claimed pre-emi- 
nence above the rest, that, though the eldest of 
them all, he ever laboured the most both at 
home and abroad. Chitalin, who was more 
illustrious amongst his own countrymen for high 
birth and military fame, possessed such acute- 
ness of intellect as occasioned Father Bonenti, 
the companion of Father Burges, to say we had 
the greatest reason to thank God, that this 
Indian Chitalin was devoid of book learning: 
for were this not the case, he of himself 
would be sufficient to deceive all mankind. 
But though of a very lively temper, in the prime 
of his years, arrogant, and proud of military 
fam.e, he submitted to the divine law and the 
will of the Fathers, and by so doing induced 
many to amend their conduct. Inconceivable 
is the importance attached to the examples of 
the Caciques by the Indians. The adage that 
the character of the king determines that of his 



i ' 



^ 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



119 



people, is no where more true than in America. 
The third Cacique of St. Xavier, who received 
the name of Domingo at his baptism, though 
younger than the two former, was superior to 
them both. Many years after the rest had 
entered the colony, he, with a troop of horse, 
spread terror and desolation throughout the land 
of Cordoba. Incensed at his countrymen on 
account of the peace they had established with 
the Spaniards, he long persecuted their town 
with the utmost virulence, and when the oppor- 
tunity for slaughter was wanting, carried off 
droves of horses from the pastures of the city. 
Father Burges daily besought the Almighty to 
convert this mischievous man to a better course 
of life ; his prayers were at length heard, and 
entering the colony, Domingo exceeded the rest 
in usefulness and good conduct as much as he had 
previously done in ferocity and the disposition 
to mischief. Some years afterwards, he obtain- 
ed the captain's staff, as a reward of his merits, 
from Pedro Ceballos, Governor of Buenos- 
Ayres. 

The example, authority and vigilance of such 
Caciques, caused this town, so lately composed 
of a barbarous and blood-thirsty rabble, to 
become a seminary of Christian piety. The 
strict observance of the marriage ceremony, the 
remarkable modesty of the youth of both sexes, 

I 4 




M 



120 



HrSTOIlY OF THE ABIPONES. 



iii!iffni(i(^ii:iMi!in'-'.iiH 



their prompt obedience, industry, and concord, 
together with the extreme good-will they mani- 
fested towards the priests, excited the admira- 
tion of the Spaniards, who had not yet quite 
forgotten their ancient barbarism. They desired 
baptism both for themselves, and for their 
children, as soon as they were born, though 
formerly, by an error common to all savages, 
they had considered it mortally dangerous. In 
the three last days of Lent, after hearing of 
the agonies of our Saviour, they all felt an eager 
desire to inflict tortures on themselves. Many 
cruelly lacerated their bodies, others carried 
crosses, ]ike supplicants, as they had formerly 
seen practised by the Spanish penitents in the 
city of Sta. Ffe. Nor could the young lads be 
restrained from following the example of their 
elders. Knotted leathern thongs supplied the 
place of scourges; and when crosses were 
wanting, they took yokes of oxen, axle-trees 
•of waggons, heavy beams, or any timber at 
hand, to be applied to the purpose of making 
them. They seemed to take amazing pleasure 
in mangling their flesh. One of them, seeing 
the backs of his companions streaming with 
blood, cried, *' See! how we are changed by 
the teaching of the Fathers ! how unlike we 
are grown both to our former selves, and to 
our ancestors ! Accustomed from boyhood to 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



121 



shed the blood of others, we now voluntarily 
shed our own, and most justly. It is right that 
we punish ourselves for the numerous droves 
of horses that we have plundered, and slaugh- 
ters that we have committed." According to 
the custom of the equestrian savages, the Mo- 
cobian mothers used fequently to kill their own 
offspring. By the extermination of this cruelty 
in mothers, together with the abolition of poly- 
gamy and divorce, the colony was enriched by 
a numerous progeny, though often diminished 
by the ravages of the small-pox. Father 
Francisco Burges, the founder, and for many 
years the Governor of this colony, was suc- 
ceeded, or assisted by Miguel Zea, Joseph 
Cardiel, Joseph Garzia, Bonenti, Manuel 
Canelas, Joseph Brigniel, Joseph Lehmann, 
Pedro Pol, and Florian Pauke my successor 
when I was removed to the Abipones; from 
whose labours another colony of Christian 
Mocobios, distinguished by the name of Pedro 
and Pablo, took its rise. Over this colony 
presided the Cacique Amokin, who till that 
time had terribly infested the territories of the 
Spaniards with his Mocobios. You may have 
heard of a colony of Mocobios of the name of 
St. Xavier, situated near the city Esteco in 
Tucuman, in the last century, and it appears 
not foreign to my purpose to relate the origin. 



122 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



State, and ruin of it, in this place. A great 
sedition was stirred up in Tucuman, at that 
time, by the Indians, and the Spaniards em- 
ployed all their forces to repress the tumult. 
The city Esteco seemed doomed to destruction, 
unless the continual hostilities of the Mocobios 
were put a stop to. Alfonzo Mercado, Go- 
vernor of Tucuman, thinking that peace might 
be more easily obtained without war, sent two 
Jesuits to pacify the Mocobios, and these legates 
were able to obtain, by fair words, what those 
who sent them could never have extorted by 
the sword. The savages promised peace, and 
maintained it, whilst Mercado was Governor 
of Tucuman, but receiving information that he 
had been succeeded by Angelo de Paredo, they 
.renewed their hostilities. The Governor, to 
avenge the slaughters they had already com- 
mitted, and to prevent them from attempting 
fresh, armed all the forces of the Spaniards, and 
of the tame Indians, and after twice entering 
Chaco, took and slew some companies of Mo- 
cobios. Although this expedition proved so 
fortunate, it by no means tended to establish 
the tranquillity of the province: for the survi- 
vors, though less numerous yet with redoubled 
spirit and courage, dared every thing against 
the victorious Spaniards, the memory of the 
slaughter they had suffered exasperating their 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



123 



desire of vengeance, and supplying the place of 
numbers. Angelo de Paredo, therefore, soften- 
ed by experience, adopted gentler methods to 
tranquillize the minds of the Mocobios. By 
gifts and conciliatory measures, he at length 
effected so much, that some companies of them, 
laying aside all enmity, settled in the neighbour- 
hood of Esteco, and bore the appearance of a 
colony, which went by the name of St. Xavier. 
And as true religion is a strengthener of peace, 
and a certain instrument of good works, great 
pains were taken to induce them to embrace the 
Catholic religion. Father Diego Altamirano, a 
Jesuit, descended from a noble Spanish family, 
together with Father Bartolome Diaz, a 
native of Paraguay and well skilled in the 
languages of the Indians, were chosen to 
instruct these savages, but not permitted to 
reside amongst them by the provident Gover- 
nor, who, fearing the ferocity of their disciples, 
wished to ensure the lives of the missionaries. 
On this account, they passed the night at Esteco ; 
so that they were obliged to ride eight leagues 
every day in going and returning; as that city 
was four leagues distant from the settlements 
of the savages. Until a chapel could be built 
there, a very large cross was erected, near 
which the law of God was daily expounded. 
The Fathers spared no pains to civilize this 



124 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



'^U.,.. 1,1 



nation, but the character which they gained for 
singular patience was the only reward of their 
labours: for the Governor, who looked for the 
harvest, almost before the sowing was finished, 
destroyed the colony under various pretexts. 
TheMocobios who inhabited it, together with the 
other savages whom he had taken in his last 
expedition into Chaco, he distributed amongst 
the Tucuman cities in the service of the Spa- 
niards ; by which liberahty he secured the good- 
will of the people, and remunerated them for their 
assistance in the excursions undertaken against 
Chaco; but the savage tribes, thus torn from 
their native soil, conceived new hatred of the 
Spanish name, and have persisted to this very 
day in revenging the injury done them by the 
Governor, continuing ever hostile, ever mis- 
chievous to the whole province. 

It cannot be doubted but that this colony was 
planted by the Governor in a most inauspicious 
season; for at the very time that he committed 
the Mocobios to the religious instructions of 
the Fathers, he persecuted their countrymen in 
Chaco with the utmost bitterness; nor was 
the situation of the colony approved by prudent 
persons. The city Esteco, which was a few 
years after destroyed by an earthquake, abound- 
ed in pubhc vices proportionable to its wealth 
and power. The neighbouring Mocobios, who 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONESi 



125 



were more powerfully impelled to vice by the 
example of the licentious and intemperate, than 
to virtue bv the exhortations of the Fathers, 
thought themselves justified in doing what they 
saw practised openly and with impunity by the 
Christian inhabitants of the city. This, amongst 
others, was the principal reason why the town 
of St. Xavier, founded in our times, was removed 
to thirty leagues distance from the city of Sta. 
F^, that examples of wickedness, which are never 
wanting in the most virtuous cities, might not 
meet the eyes of the Mocobios. The Fathers 
were obliged to be extremely careful in prevent- 
ing their Indian disciples from associating pro- 
miscuously with other Christians, in many of 
whom they would discover vices and impurities 
which they themselves were utterly ignorant of, 
or regarded with execration: for Spaniards 
are not the sole inhabitants of Paraguay; a 
mixed breed of Spaniards, Negroes, and Indians, 
are commonly to be seen there. Persons of 
good character, and respectable family, are 
never denied access to our colonies; on the 
contrary, they are well received by us, and 
permitted to lodge in our houses, sit at our 
tables, and survey any part of the town at their 
pleasure. But it was ordered by royal enact- 
ments that none ofthe dregs of society should gain 
admittance into the Indian towns, such being 






126 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the very men most calculated to pervert or 
delude the stupid Indians. To keep the town 
clear of these nuisances, no care and vigilance 
on the part of the Fathers could be deemed 
superfluous. Fellows of this description, though 
perhaps devoid of any evil intent in their coming, 
seldom depart without the commission of mis- 
chief: for they either cajole the Indians out of 
their clothes, and other property, or corrupt 
them by indecent jokes and actions, or, as is 
frequently the case, steal and carry home young 
men, marriageable girls, and even married 
women, to serve as domestic slaves, and often 
for worse purposes. Within two years seventy 
boys and girls were carried into captivity from 
the town of St. Stanislaus. The Bishop and 
Governor, when informed by me of the fact, 
threatened the raptors with I know not what;, 
but vain was anger without strength, in a pro- 
vince where holy prelates had formerly been 
cast down by the seditious citizens, and Go- 
vernors confined in chains and a prison. 

The Abipones, on account of their old friend- 
ship with the Mocobios, were hospitably re- 
ceived and liberally treated in their visits to the 
town of St. Xavier. Pleased with the gifts 
and conversation of the Fathers, they at length 
began to approve that kind of life which the 
Mocobios had adopted. Kebachin, a man of 



«p 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



127 



high reputation amongst the Abipones, pro- 
mised to induce his fellow-hordesmen to request 
colonies for themselves, of the Spaniards. De- 
bayakaikin, chief of the Abiponian Caciques, at 
length desired to live under our discipline, in 
the territories of Sta. F^ ; but v^hen the Gover- 
nor of that city pointed out the banks of the 
river Salado, to build the new colony upon, the 
Abipones disapproved of that situation, and a 
business of so much import v^as consequently 
suspended: for Ychoalay, who possessed 
much more penetration than the rest, said that 
the Spaniards had pitched upon that situation 
with a design of rendering the Abipones sub- 
servient to their will, as they had done with 
regard to the remainder of the Calchacuis in 
Carcaraiiial. The dread of slavery disconcerted 
^ these useful measures, to the great disadvantage 
both of the Spaniards, and of themselves. By 
what means the whole Abiponian nation was 
settled in four colonies, remains to be circum- 
stantially related. 



128 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE FIRST COLONY OF ST. JERONYMO. FOUNDED FOR THE 
ABIPONES RIIKAHES. 

Cordoba, impatient of war, and now no longer 
able to contend with her calamities, was eager 
to behold the Abipones appeased and recon- 
ciled. The instrument of attaining this de- 
sirable object was Father Diego Horbegozo, a 
Biscayan. He strongly urged the Abipones 
who frequented Sta. F^, and the Vice-Go- 
I'ernor Francisco de Vera Muxica, the lat- 
ter to build, and the former to accept of a 
colony; and his wishes were gratified in both 
points. Ychamenraikin, chief Cacique of the 
Riikahes, besides promising peace to all the 
Spaniards, agreed to resign himself and his 
people to the care of the Jesuits, on this con- 
dition, that the youth alone should be taught 
the elements of religion, but that older persons 
should by no means be compelled to study 
them. The Vice-Governor readily subscribed 
to this condition, because he flattered himself 
that the efforts of the Fathers would induce all 
ages, indiscriminately, to attend to the truth ; 
and also because he was of opinion, that peace. 



^»« 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



129 



by which the public tranquillity, and the lives 
and fortunes of so many mortals were pre- 
served, should be accepted without hesitation 
on whatever condition it were offered. 

The situation of the colony was wisely left 
to the choice of the Abipones, who pitched 
upon the northern shore of the river Rey. 
This place, which is seventy leagues north of 
Sta. Fe, forms the centre of that territory 
which these people claim as their own. Here 
you behold a plain, about two hundred leagues 
in extent, abounding in good pasture, in wood 
for fuel and carpenter's work, and in vast num- 
bers of wild animals. The soil is excellent and 
suitable to seed of every kind. Not a stone 
nor even a pebble can be met with here, nor 
any springs, so that the water of this place, 
being solely procured from the adjacent ditches, 
is seldom sweet, never clear. Nearly all the 
smaller rivers within sight are composed of 
muddy, bitter water, so salt, as to be refused 
by the very beasts, but which sweetens when 
increased by violent or continual rains. The 
same is the case with the Rio Rey, the prin- 
cipal river of the vicinity, which, in dry wea- 
ther, becomes so shallow that travellers may 
cross it on foot, but is often swelled to such a 
degree by the inundations of the Parana, and 
by unusually heavy rains, that, overflowing its 



VOL. III. 



K 



130 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



'"fh 



banks, it spreads far and wide, and assumes 
the appearance of a lake. When the waters 
recede, they leave a muddy marsh in every 
part, so that a foot of land can hardly be 
found, on which you can stand with safety. 
The Abipones, ever distrusting the friendship 
of the Spaniards, chose this place to prevent 
the possibility of being treacherously attacked 
by them; and they thought that the difficulty of 
the journey, by keeping off the Spaniards, 
would prove a guard to themselves. But some 
years after, when their minds were softened, 
and their suspicions of Spanish perfidy laid 
aside, they requested to have this town re- 
moved from the northern to the southern 
shore, where it was placed on a large and 
pleasant hill. So far concerning the site of this 
colony. Let us now proceed to other par- 
ticulars. 

Affairs being settled in the city of Sta. Fe, 
the head of the college, Diego Horbegozo, took 
a journey to the hordes of the Abipones, for 
the double purpose of gaining the good -will of 
the whole nation, and of observing the nature 
of the place where the town was to be situated. 
Having informed himself of the intentions of 
the Abipones, he returned to the city, and pro- 
cured the sacred utensils for the priests, in- 
struments for agriculture and house-building, 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



131 



and above all, the cattle necessary for the sup- 
port of the Indians. But those very people, 
v^^ho had promised mountains of gold to avert 
from their throats the knives of the Abipones, 
were niggardly, and slow in fulfilling their en- 
gagements. The care not only of instructing^ 
but likewise of supporting the Indians, as in 
other cases, fell solely upon the Fathers, who 
had perpetually to struggle with the want of 
all necessaries. For the assistance their 
prayers extorted from the royal treasury never 
equalled the necessities of the colony, and the 
expectations of the savages. Two Jesuits were 
appointed to take care of the town : Joseph 
Cardiel, a native of Castile, a man of the 
greatest intrepidity, and a missionary of various 
nations; to whom was given as a companion 
another Castilian, Francisco Navalon, a man of 
the gentlest disposition, and well fitted for 
economical cares, so that he rendered infinite 
services to this town for twenty years. 

In the year 1748, the Vice-Go vernor of Sta. 
F^, with two Fathers, and a troop of soldiers, 
went to the place designed for the colony. A 
small chapel, a little hut for the Fathers, and 
another for the chief Cacique, were hastily 
constructed by the soldiers, of wood and mud, 
and covered with hay. A heavy shower com- 
ing on, it seemed to have rained harder in the 

k2 



132 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



apartment of the Fathers, than out of doors ; 
indeed the fabric altogether was such as no 
labourer or herdsman in Europe would deign 
to inhabit. The Abipones, assembled in this 
place, made use of their mats for tents, till, 
polished by some years' discipline, they con- 
structed rather handsomer edifices, for sacred 
purposes, for the Fathers, and for themselves. 
Yet how languidly would these fabrics have 
been conducted, had they not been aided by 
the advice and even the personal labour of 
the Fathers ! The court-yard of our house was 
surrounded with stakes, to guard against the 
incursions of our savage enemies, and to serve as 
a place of refuge for the women and children, 
whilst the men were fighting out of doors. 
The Abipones Riikahes, under Neruigini and 
Y choalay, their chief commanders, constituted 
this first colony, which scarce consisted of 
three hundred people. The Caciques Naare 
and Kachirikin settled here likewise, with 
their numerous Yaaukanigas, whilst the peo- 
ple of Corrientes were building them the town 
of St., Ferdinand. After some months Lichin- 
rain, and then Ychilimin, and Kebachichi, came 
with their people to the newly built colony, and 
subsequently more and more flocked thither. 
The greater number were attracted by the de- 
sire of novelty, rather than of religion. The 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



133 



expectation of trifling presents, the beef which 
was every day gratuitously distributed, and 
security, were magnets which drew numbers 
to the colony. By observation, the town of 
St. Jeronymo is situated in the 28° 50' lat. and 
the 317° 40' long. 

Father Joseph Cardiel being removed to the 
Mocobios, his place was filled by Father 
Joseph Brigniel, who had spent eleven years in 
the Guarany towns, and presided four years 
over the college at Corrientes. His companion 
for two years in the town of St. Jeronymo, and 
his pupil in the Abiponian tongue, I ever be- 
held in him the utmost industry and good 
nature, united with equal sanctity of life. He 
seemed created purposely to suit the tempers 
of the Abipones, who fly a supercilious person, 
and are won by easy manners. I told you 
before of his labours in investigating the nature 
of the Abiponian tongue, and in writing a 
vocabulary, grammar, catechism, sermons, &c. 
You shall now hear how much all the Para- 
guayrian towns were indebted to him. In 
order that the benefit of the peace granted by 
the Abipones to the city of Sta. F^ might be 
extended to all Paraguay, he contrived to have 
the chief Caciques of the whole nation con- 
vened in the town of St. Jeronymo. Each of 
the Caciques was accompanied by a chosen 

K 3 



134 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



I i i 




troop of his own horse, figures terrible to be- 
hold. Whether the peace faithfully offered by 
all the Spaniards should be accepted, and 
whether peace should be granted unreservedly 
to all the Spaniards, by the whole Abiponian 
nation, these were the subjects of deliberation 
in that savage conclave. At first, there was a 
great diversity of opinions. Many inclined 
towards according their friendship to the 
inhabitants of Sta. F^, Cordoba, and St. lago, 
to the exclusion of the Corrientines and Para- 
guayrians, denying the expediency of a uni- 
versal peace which should embrace all the 
Spaniards. " Such a cessation," said they, "will 
cause the use of arms, and our ancient boast of 
military glory, to decay amongst us. Inac- 
tivity will destroy the love of war implanted 
in the youth of our nation. Grown effeminate 
like the pedestrian Indians, we shall be sub- 
jugated by the Spaniards, as soon as we cease 
to be formidable to them. War with one 
Spanish province at least is necessary to us, 
that we may still enjoy the opportunity of 
plundering those things of which we have need 
for daily use. We shall get more from the 
Spaniards as their enemies, than as their friends. 
It is better to be feared than loved by them; 
and who can promise himself their love un- 
mingled with secret hatred, and desire of re- 



HlSTOllY OF THE ABIPONES. 



135 



venge, when he calls to mind, how sorely we 
have persecuted this province for so many 
years ? The conquered seldom love their con- 
querors." 

On the other hand, Ychoalay strongly ad- 
vised that the peace should be extended to all 
the Spanish towns. " I maintain," says he, "that 
the friendship offered us by all the Spaniards, 
should not only be granted to them all in re- 
turn, but eagerly embraced as a benefit. Are 
you apprehensive that the military spirit of your 
countrymen will be extinguished, or that your 
arms will contract rust for want of use ? Are 
there not lions, tigers, stags, emus, and all the 
feathery and scaly tribes against which to 
direct your weapons ? If you feel such ardour 
for fighting, turn your arms and your anger 
against the Yapitalakas, Oaekakalots, Ychiba- 
chis, and other people with whom we are at 
variance. Does the recollection of former vic- 
tories, and rash confidence in future ones, in- 
spire you with such pride, that you scorn to 
receive all the Spaniards into your friendship ? 
I allow that we have inflicted slaughters upon 
them; but will you always have the power, as 
you now have the inclination, to forget slaugh- 
ters of their committing ? The vicissitudes we 
have experienced sufficiently warn us not to trust 

In- 
K 4 



too much to the changeful fortune of war. 



136 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



deed I ever thought a certain peace with all the 
Spaniards much safer and better than the un- 
certain victories which you expect to gain from 
them. How pleasant to be able to enjoy un- 
disturbed slumbers, without fear of the Spa- 
niards, on whose approach we have passed so 
many sleepless nights ! How many days have 
we endured hunger! How many lakes and 
rivers have we swam in our flight, to find lurk- 
ing-holes in distant woods, where we might 
preserve our lives! Ah! I feel both sorrow 
and shame in the remembrance of our terrors ! 
But does the hope of booty prevent you from 
promising a universal peace ? For my part, I 
fear that if we fro wardly persist in war, we shall 
ourselves fall a prey to the Spaniards, like the 
Calchacuis, who were much more numerous 
than we, and, with your leave be it spoken, 
more warlike. Think on it again and again, 
lest, if you now refuse the friendship of the 
Spaniards, their enmity may prove fatal to our 
whole nation, and give you cause to repent 
when it is too late." 

Ychoalay, after he had addressed the savage 
assembly nearly to this effect, perceiving that 
some of the more refractory were not yet per- 
suaded to a universal peace, added these words. 
" It appears that I have hitherto been preach- 
ing to deaf ears. If reason does not convince 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



137 



you, if the dangers of war do not terrify, nor 
the pleasures of peace allure you, at least let 
pity soften your hearts. Lo ! crowds of Abi- 
pones and Mocobios, made captives by the 
Spaniards, are dragging out a life of slavery, 
bitterer than any death. Numbers united to 
us by the ties of blood, and ancient alliances, 
banished from their country, dispersed in mi- 
serable corners of cities and estates, subject to 
the power of others, and oppressed with labour, 
now mourn, and are consumed with grief. 
The liberty of so many wretches is in your 
hands, and may be purchased this very day, 
by your concession of a universal peace. 
Again and again, I entreat you to consider, 
whether it be most incumbent on you to show 
anger to your enemies, or pity to your friends. 
The courageousness of mind you have always 
evinced in arms, you should now render more 
illustrious by accelerating peace." 

This address had such an effect upon the 
savages, that suddenly adopting milder senti- 
ments, they unanimously acquiesced in the 
advice of the orator. Peace was accorded to 
all the Christian colonies in Paraguay, with 
what perfect sincerity may be collected from 
the circumstance, that every Cacique had part 
of the land of the Spaniards committed to his 
custody, that he might prevent any of the 



138 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Abipones from doing injury or violence to any 
of the Spaniards. Debayakaikin was appoint- 
ed to guard the city of Asumpcion ; Kebachi- 
chi that of Corrientes; Alaykin, St. lago; 
Ychamenf aikin, Sta. F^ ; and Ychoalay, Cor- 
doba. 

This condition was annexed to the agree- 
ment; that the Abipones and Mocobios in cap- 
tivity amongst the Spaniards should be sent 
home without a ransom, but that the Christian 
captives should pay a price for their liberty ; 
and numbers did return to Cordoba, Asump- 
cion and Corrientes, though many of the Spa- 
nish, Negro, and Guarany captives had be- 
come so familiarized to the Abipones by long 
acquaintance, that fearing to lose the liberty 
they enjoyed amongst these people, even 
whilst in a state of servitude, they would on 
no account return to their own country. In 
the town of St. Jeronymo alone forty-seven of 
each sex remained voluntary captives, but, 
more intolerable than the savages themselves, 
they were a pest to the new colonies, a hind- 
rance to religion, the torment of the Fathers, 
devisers of frauds and wickedness; in short, of 
such a character, that except baptism, which 
they received in their infancy, they retained 
nothing of Christianity. The same complaint 
might be made of the Abiponian captives who 



HISTORY OF THE A Bl PONES. 



139 



returned from the Spaniards. Yet many Abi- 
pones and Mocobios, who had been civilized, 
and converted to the Catholic religion in their 
boyhood, would be induced by no entreaties 
to revisit their native land : but learnt a trade, 
and lived in the city, pleased with their con- 
dition, and much commended for honesty. 

The annunciation of peace decided upon in 
this assembly was the more agreeable to the 
Spaniards, from being unexpected. You might 
have seen the whole province revive, and hold 
public rejoicings, but their joy was of short 
duration. For, some months after, Oaherkai- 
kin, with a small band of his followers, afflicted 
the territories of Asumpcion with slaughter 
and rapine. Whilst the other Caciques either 
did not know of this incursion, or connived at 
it, Ychoalay, indignant at such perfidy, thought 
it incumbent upon him to avenge the injury 
done the Spaniards, and the disgrace reflected 
on the Abiponian name. He knew Oaherkai- 
kin to have very few fellow-soldiers and com- 
panions. Full therefore of hope and of anger, 
he undertook a journey, with a small band of 
soldiers, for the purpose of putting him down. 
But just as they were on the point of battle, 
Ychoalay perceives that all Debayakaikin's 
soldiers had come to the assistance of Oaher- 
kaikin. Retreat would have been dishonour- 



140 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



able. He tries the chance of war. A very 
few Riikakes fought bravely for a little while 
with a great number of Nakaiketergehes, 
though there was more shouting and trumpet- 
ing than bloodshed. The loss amounted to 
two men slain, and some wounded on each 
side. But Ychoalay narrowly escaped being 
killed, and was obliged to fly with his people. 
To save his life, he left his spear on the field of 
battle, a disgrace which likewise befel two of 
his companions. The Riikah^s also left in the 
hands of the enemy a number of their horses. 
Urged by the instant peril, two or three leapt 
upon one horse, some unarmed, others naked, 
and fled, with all speed, to the colony of St. Jero- 
nymo. This expedition proved the origin of a 
twenty years' war between the Riik-ahes and 
Nakaiketergehes. I shall confine myself to a 
brief narration of the most important events : 
for were I to describe all the successive vicissi- 
tudes of this war, I should consume more ink, 
than there w^as blood spilt in the whole course 
of it. Let me now give you the portraits of 
Ychoalay and Oaherkaikin, the authors of the 
war. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



141 



CHAPTER XIV. 



SOME THINGS WORTHY OF NOTE RESPECTING YCHOALAY 
AND OAHERKAIKIN. 

Oaherkaikin, a Nakaiketergehe, and a 
tribesman of Debayakaikin, was of middling- 
stature, lean, strong-boned, with a pale face, a 
stern countenance, small sunken eyes, and 
short hair shaven at intervals, like that of a 
monk ; his limbs were all covered with large 
scars ; his ears were bored to admit the knots 
of cow's horn which he wore by way of ear- 
rings ; he seemed always either in the act of 
threatening, or absorbed in contemplation. He 
was a great lover of drinking-parties, a man of 
few words, though very affable to his followers ; 
an implacable foe to the Spaniards ; ever for- 
midable, even when threatening nothing ; won- 
derfully well- skilled in the use of the spear and 
other weapons, and in the arts of riding and 
swimming ; extremely attached to the super- 
stitions of the savages ; a despiser of elegant 
clothing; and endowed with an intrepid and 
daring mind; but careless of his promises; given 
to falsehood and knavery ; and well worthy of 
his name Oaherkaikin, which signifies a liar. 



142 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



:,!i! 



He was as crafty in eluding and repelling the 
enemy, as he was bold in attacking them. 
Having learnt, by means of his spies, that 
Nicolas Patron, Vice-Governor of the Corri- 
entines, was approaching his horde with hostile 
intentions, accompanied by fifty horsemen, he 
would not await the arrival of the Spaniards, 
but went in person to meet them with a com- 
pany of soldiers. Armed with a spear, arrows, 
and a militajy breastplate, and having his face 
blackened to make his appearance the more 
terrible, he stationed himself on foot, in a place 
where he had a wood at his back, and an 
unfordable river in front. On the approach of 
the Vice-Governor, he informed him, by means 
of a captive interpreter, that if he were inclined 
to fight, a corresponding desire was felt on 
his own part, and that the threats of the Spa- 
niards excited laughter in him, instead of fear. 
The Vice-Governor, astonished at sight of the 
savage, and provoked at his insolent challenge, 
looked at his soldiers, and exclaimed, " Come, 
get ropes and catch this wild beast for me !" 
an order which struck consternation into the 
minds of the soldiers. " My Lord," replied a 
lieutenant of the name of Ahasco, " if you are 
so desirous of taking this savage, do you try 
your own fortune, we have no objection to 
that ; but, for our own parts, none of us have 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES.' 



143 



either leisure or inclination to throw away our 
lives upon a joke." As great danger was to be 
apprehended in crossing the river, the opposite 
bank being occupied by the savages, they began 
immediately to think of retreat, and nothing 
was attempted against the enemy. Oaherkai- 
kin at a distance pursued the Corrientines, 
and carried away that very night a drove of 
horses from the colony of St. Ferdinand. The 
Spaniards were not insensible to this injury, 
but digested it in silence, fearing to provoke 
these hornets afresh. You shall now hear some 
particulars respecting Ychoalay. 

He enjoyed every thing but the name of 
Cacique. He was born of a most honourable 
family amongst the Riikahes, and nearly related 
to Debayakaikin, who taught him, when a boy, 
to sit a horse, and to manage it. He was ex- 
ceedingly tall, with an oval face, an aquiline 
nose, and strength adequate to all of the fatigues 
of warfare ; indeed, the whole conformation of 
his body was exactly expressive of, and suit- 
able to a military man. On the strength of a 
peace, established between the Riikahes and 
the people of Sta. Fe, the youth Ychoalay visited 
that city, and served the Spaniards for hire, 
either as a breaker-in of horses, or a guard in 
the estates. At length he assumed the name 
of his master, Benavides, and by this name he 



144 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



was afterwards known, when a leader of the 
Abipones, and an enemy to the Spaniards; 
though his own countrymen called him Oahari 
in his boyhood, and at a more advanced period 
of his life, Ychoalay. Though averse to the 
Christian religion, he was so desirous of an 
acquaintance with the Spanish language, that 
in order to be more sure of attaining it, he went 
from Sta. F^ to the kingdom of Chili, whither 
a Spaniard was returning with a number of 
waggons : this man he served on the journey 
as a driver, and afterwards as a cultivator of 
vines, at Mendoza. Ychoalay, ever mindful of 
his origin, constantly showed himself the soldier, 
never appearing out of doors without a spear, 
and manifesting courage superior to that of the 
rest. Hence, when his companions were robbed 
or murdered by the Charruas or Pampas, in 
the deserts of Paraguay, Ychoalay, repelling 
force by force, remained a survivor. Some 
years after, he returned from Mendoza to Sta. 
Fe, and on his masters' refusing to pay him his 
wages, became disgusted with the Spaniards. 
Anger was turned into rage, when he learnt 
from a Spaniard of Cordoba, that his life had 
been attempted by an inhabitant of Sta. F^. 
Weary of his condition, and of the society of the 
Spaniards, he rejoined the Abipones, who 
were, at that time, harassing the territories of 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



145 



Cordoba with daily inroads, and accompanied 
his countrymen in all their plinidering excur- 
sions, displaying so much valour as caused him 
to be soon after promoted from a fellow-soldier 
to be a leader of others. Shrewd and active, 
he always executed with wonderful bravery, 
and equal good fortune, whatever he planned 
to the injury of the Spaniards. He had a great 
share in all the victories which I have related 
as being obtained over the Spaniards, and in 
all the dangers and slaughters inflicted upon 
them. Frequent and successful expeditions 
gained him so much celebrity, that he was as 
much honoured by his own people as feared by 
others. 

It is worthy of remark, that, though he vented 
his fury for a long space of time on the other 
Spanish colonies, he always spared those of 
Sta. F^, and hkewise that he never touched the 
lives of men devoted to religion, or permitted 
his soldiers to do so. He never suffered female 
jugglers to remain within his horde ; and that 
they might not remove to some other, he pierced 
them himself with a spear, lest they should 
deceive his people with their artifices, or dis- 
turb them with bad auguries. Long acquaint- 
ance with Ychoalay gave me opportunities of 
observing many things in his character that 
were worthy of praise, many that deserved 

VOL. III. T 



146 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



reprehension. He had such an immoderately 
high opinion of himself, that he could never 
endure to hear any of his countrymen ex- 
tolled for valour. Extremely self-conceited 
and opinionated, he was very impatient of op- 
position. His restless and turbulent disposi- 
tion induced him to plan methods whereby he 
might circumvent or vanquish Oaherkaikin, 
and others of his rivals, not from the hope of 
emolument, but from the desire of overthrowing 
the celebrity they had obtained. This caused 
him to be always sowing dissensions, and hunt- 
ing out occasions of quarrels, which proved 
the source of numerous disturbances in the new 
town, and prevented it from ever enjoying a 
respite from its enemies. Though at other 
times mild and courteous, when scheming expe- 
ditions against his adversary, he deprived his 
dearest friends of his conversation. Amongst 
various coverings for the head, he had one little 
woollen cap of a yellow colour, and whenever 
he wore this I observed him to be stern and 
meditative, and carefully avoided his company. 
Joseph Brignielwas amused by this observation 
of mine, and became so convinced of its truth, 
by experience, that we used jokingly to call 
that little hat the prognostic of an approaching 
expedition against the enemy. 

But these and other defects Ychoalay re- 



HISTORY OxV THE ABIPONES. 



147 



deemed by shining virtues. None of us ever 
entertained the least doubt of his being the chief 
instrument of the peace established between 
the Abipones and all the Spaniards, and the 
founder and preserver of the colony of St. 
Jeronymo. He always religiously adhered to 
the friendship he had contracted with the 
Spaniards, and took great care to prevent any 
of the Abipones from violating it, often with 
the risk of his life. Whomsoever he understood 
to be guilty of a violation of the peace, against 
them, as against enemies, he thought it his duty 
to take up arms. This was an occasion of 
continual war with the Abipones Nakaiketer- 
geh^s. Thousands of horses, which during 
many years he had retaken from their plunder- 
ers, he brought back to the Spanish colonies, 
and restored to their masters, and was dis- 
pleased at being asked what compensation he 
reqjuired, saying, *' Don't you know then that I 
am your friend? All I ask is not to be thought 
mercenary." By his zeal in preserving and 
recovering the property of the Spaniards, he 
incurred the hatred of all the savages; even 
his countrymen regarded him with execration 
as a friend of the Spaniards, and an enemy to 
themselves : whence his daily complaint: " My 
countrymen think me wicked now, because I 
am good ; formerly they called me good, be- 

L 2 



^ 



148 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



cause I was wicked." Sometimes when he 
invited his fellow-hordesmen to join him in 
tilling the fields, or attacking the enemies of the 
town, on their delaying, or refusing to accompany 
him, under pretext of a want of proper horses, 
" Father," would he say to me, " you would have 
seen them follow me with the utmost alacrity, 
had I invited them to rob and murder the 
Spaniards. Not one would have remained with 
you in the town; not one would have made the 
scarcity of horses an objection." 

It must be allowed that the progressive im- 
provement of the town was, under God, chiefly 
to be attributed to the industry and authority 
of Ychoalay : for the chief Cacique Ychamen- 
raikin, although illustrious for his high birth 
and warlike actions, and endeared to his people 
by the gentleness of his disposition, contributed 
nothing of consequence to the establishment of 
the colony. He presided over all, but was of 
service to no one, the mere shadow of a magis- 
trate, the useless image of power. He was 
addicted to drinking, and practised polygamy 
and divorce. Yet all bore him great good-will, 
because he connived at the vices of his hordes- 
men. The love of Christian knowledge had 
no place in his breast, nor did he ever enter 
public religious assemblies, or endeavour to 
make others do so. During his lifetime, no 



^ 



HJSTORy OF THE ABIPONES. 



149 



man would ever receive baptism, till on the. 
point of death: when he died, no man refused 
it, which was brought about by the labours of 
Ychoalay, who, though not possessed of the chief 
command, managed all the affairs of the town 
by his own authority. He obliged others to 
attend the church, in order to learn the elements 
of religion, but for some time delayed entering 
• it himself. After receiving daily admonitions 
on this subject from Joseph Brigniel, " Father," 
replied he, '< permit me to think about slaying 
Oaherkaikin. My head is at present in a tumult 
with warlike cares. In time of peace I shall 
have leisure to attend to your religious dis- 
courses." After repeated excursions against 
Oaherkaikin, a truce being at length established, 
Brigniel reminded him of his promise, to which 
Ychoalay replied, - I must first make a fold for 
the security of the sheep in the estate, I will 
then become your disciple in the school of reli- 
gion ;" and he kept his word. A few days after, 
the Father, on entering the church, beheld 
Ychoalay kneeling on the ground and heard him 
praying, and making the responses. Thence- 
forward, no man was a more constant attender 
on: places of worship, or displayed greater 
modesty and docihty when there : and by his 
example they were daily crowded with pious 
hearers. He not only committed to memory 

l3 



,. > fin la* I* 



150 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the regular Christian prayers, and every thing 
relating to religion, but repeated them aloud 
to his domestics in the evening. 

When the Fathers had occasion to baptize 
persons languishing under a mortal disease, or 
the bite of a venomous snake, and if they died, 
to bury them in holy ground, according to the 
rites of the catholic church, Ychoalay alone 
was their defender and assistant. It v^ould be 
difficult to enumerate all those who for baptism, 
sepulchral honours, and indeed heaven itself, 
are indebted to the labours of Ychoalay. By 
his desire, Ychamenraikin first, and then all 
the boys and girls were dedicated to Christ 
by baptism ; for the more careful performance 
whereof, twenty alone were admitted on the 
same day to the sacred font. This, indeed, 
was eifected, more by the example than by the 
exhortations of Ychoalay, who had his children 
baptized as soon as they saw the light, and 
those which died he gave into the hands of the 
priest, to be buried with the Christian forms. 
You will wonder, I think, that one who was so 
careful of the salvation of others should have 
neglected his own, since it would commonly 
be thought that what was not eligible for him- 
self could hardly be eligible for another. 

Indeed we were all surprized that the virtu- 
ous Ychoalay should, for so many years, have 



HISTORY OF THE AEIPONES. 



151 



deferred his baptism, to receive which he had 
long been pecuHarly fit. He lived for many 
years contented with one wife, never frequented 
drinking-parties, except to consult upon war, 
and was a bitter enemy to drunkenness and 
drunkards. Though formerly the prince of 
plunderers, he was now become a severe 
avenger of plunderings. He was as well ac- 
quainted with the ordinances of religion as 
with his own name. He shunned no labour 
conducive to his own advantage or that of the 
town, and was assiduous in cultivating land 
and breeding cattle. He might, therefore, 
have been initiated into the Roman CathoHc re- 
hgion long before, and indeed he frequently as- 
sured us of his intention to be so, as soon as 
ever his mind was free from anxiety respectino- 
his rival Oaherkaikin. In fact, when the Vice- 
Governor Francisco de Vera Muxica was in 
the town of St. Jeronymo, he requested bap- 
tism of his own accord, but was desired by the 
same to wait a little, because he wished to per- 
form the ceremony in the city of Sta. F^, with 
great magnificence. Ychoalay, displeased at the 
delay, could not be induced to receive baptism 
till some years after, when it was administered 
to him by Father Joseph Lehman, in the above- 
mentioned city ; where the ceremony was per- 
formed with much pomp, and so large a con- 

l4 



+ ■1 !■.: 



152 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



course of people that the church could hardly 
contain the multitude. The Royal Vice-Go- 
vernor himself took the illustrious neophyte 
from the sacred font, and gave him a sumptuous 
feast, and suitable gifts. The Spaniards with 
joyous and tearful eyes beheld the celebrated 
Ychoalay standing by the divine altar like the 
meekest lamb, whom all Paraguay had formerly 
dreaded as a rapacious wolf. 



HISIORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



153 



CHAPTER XV. 



FURTHER PRAISES OF YCHOALAY. 

It appears from what I have related, how use- 
ful Ychoalay was to us in the dissemination of 
religion. It is incredible how anxious he was 
to preserve the safety of the town and of the 
Fathers. Any little injury committed or in- 
tended against the Fathers, by his people, he 
took to himself, and indeed avenged with more 
asperity than if it had been done to himself. 
Amongst a set of men addicted to strife and 
drunkenness, accustomed to slaughter from 
their boyhood, and madly attached to super- 
stition, the lives of the Fathers must have been 
placed in a very precarious condition, had not 
his authority been a shield to them, and a 
bridle to the savages. If he perceived any 
danger impending from foreign foes, he would, 
even in the dead of the night, apprize the Fa- 
thers and his companions of it, that the com- 
mon safety might be consulted on. He was 
always the first to explore the country, and to 
occupy the front of the army whenever force 
.was to be opposed to force, often returning 



.' I 'V . '' 



An 



154 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



:'!■: i :i 



home wounded whilst his companions remained 
imhurt. It happened that the Abipones who 
inhabited the town of Concepcion, entertaining 
suspicions of the Spaniards, suddenly deserted 
it all in one day, leaving in the place only three 
men who had it in charge to murder the two 
Fathers Joseph Sanchez and Lorenzo Casado, 
by treachery, as soon as night set in. Ychoa- 
lay, learning the flight of the Abipones, and the 
danger of the Fathers, flew to the spot with no 
other company than that of the horse he rode 
on. He fixed his spear at the door of the 
Fathers, and offered himself for their defender. 
About twilight he spied the three assassins lying 
in wait, alarmed and put them to flight, and 
never saw them afterwards. He advised that 
the furniture of the house and the church should 
be carried away in a waggon, and about two 
thousand oxen driven to the town of St. Jero- 
nymo, and assigned them a place in his little 
estate where they might safely feed. The 
journey was full of danger and inconvenience. 
Continual rain had transformed the whole 
country into a marsh, so that it seemed impass- 
able to a waggon. The river Malabrigo, and 
other lakes were tremendously swelled by the 
incessant rain. But by the advice and assist- 
ance of Ychoalay, all obstacles were overcome; 
every thing that Father Sanchez wished to 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



155 



transport, conveyed to a place of safety ; and 
the attempts of the runaway Abipones, who 
had hoped to seize every thing that the deserted 
town possessed, completely foiled. Martinez 
del Tineo, Governor of Tucuman, wrote a 
letter to Ychoalay, in which he commended 
his fidelity to the Fathers, and recompensed 
his services with a piece of beautiful scarlet 
cloth fit to be worn by any noble Spaniard. 
This cloth he devoted to the purpose of buying 
sheep, the wool of which he intended to have 
woven into garments such as the Abipones 
wear. To the persuasions of the Fathers that 
he would adopt the Spanish costume, Ychoalay 
replied, " Since I am an Indian, why should I 
feign myself a Spaniard in my dress ? When 
those red garments are worn out, will you give 
me new ones in their place ? That is not to be 
expected. Then, derided by every body, I 
shall be obliged to resume the garb of the Abi- 
pones. My people will say, he boasted him- 
self a Spaniard whilst his Spanish dress lasted; 
now that is worn out he must return to our 
manner of clothing. I give you my word to 
dress like a Spaniard as soon as I get money 
enough from the wheat I am raising." And, on 
entering our church, he attired himself and his. 
horse, like the more respectable orders of Spa- 
niards. By his skill in agriculture and the 



156 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



breeding of cattle, he earned enough to clothe 
himself and his people. 

Ychoalay watched with anxious care not 
only to preserve the safety of the Fathers, but 
likewise to prevent the domestic utensils, and 
the cattle belonging to the town, from receiving 
any injury. On stated days of the week twenty 
or more oxen were killed, on the flesh of which 
the Abiponian inhabitants subsisted. Those of 
a more voracious appetite than the rest used 
secretly to kill oxen for themselves, and still 
oftener calves, to the great loss of the estate. 
Others took it into their heads to slay the sheep 
belonging to the estate, not for their flesh, but 
for their skins, which they throw over their 
shoulders like horse-cloths. Whenever Ycho- 
alay caught any of these ofl'enders, he punished 
them severely. To compensate for the loss, 
they were ordered to pay two horses for every 
ox they had slain, one for every sheep ; and if 
they did not bring them of their own accord, 
Ychoalay took them away by force. A savage 
Mocobio, a stranger, had killed a cow belonging 
to Ychoalay, thinking it to be one of the cattle 
of the town. An Abipon who happened to come 
that way said to the Mocobio, *' What ! have 
you dared to kill a cow of Ychoalay's? Woe be 
to you if he hears of it !" The Mocobio, alarmed 
at the news, laid the limbs of the cow upon his 



'^fX^'T'S 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



157 



horse, and went straight to the house of Ycho- 
alay. " This," says he, " is the flesh of your 
cow which I killed by mistake, thinking it be- 
longed to the town." " Fool," replied Ychoa- 
lay in a rage, " do you think then, that you 
may slay the herds of the colony with impu- 
nity ? The excuse by which you endeavour to 
extenuate the criminality of the deed, serves 
only to its aggravation. But now begone, and 
since you have given yourself the trouble of 
killing and flaying the beast, take upon you 
that of devouring it also." So that, though 
severe in avenging mischief done to the pro- 
perty of the town, he was lenient towards those 
who ofl'ended himself. 

The Abipones, like almost all the Americans, 
dreading the most distant idea of slavery, will 
scarcely perform the smallest service, unless 
quite sure of a compensation. Whenever you 
require anything of them, Mieka eneghn labevh ? 
what will you give me? they eagerly reply. 
They quietly looked on, whilst we were sad- 
dling our horses, or cutting down wood, and 
though they would not move a finger to our 
assistance, employed their tongues lavishly in 
our praise. " Bless me. Father ! how well you 
equip your horse ! How dexterous, and strong 
you are!" they exclaimed, though we should 
have preferred their assistance to their enco- 




''\fimi*- 



158 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



miums. Ychoalay, unlike the rest in this re- 
spect, was extremely ready to perform all sorts 
of good offices. He served the Fathers not 
with fine words, but with good deeds, as I had 
good reason to know, having taken many long 
journeys with him through incommodious wilds, 
when he fulfilled the part of a most diligent ser- 
vant. Though many Abipones of inferior rank 
accompanied us, whenever we had to pass the 
night, or the mid-day in the plain, he charged 
himself with seeking fuel, bearing water, and 
taking care of the horses, and used always to 
procure me a safe passage over rivers and 
marshes. He not only harnessed my horse for 
me, but prudently pointed out that which was 
fittest for the journey we were going to enter 
upon. In travelling he always remained close 
by my side, kept a strict watch on all sides, and 
if he discovered any danger, acquainted me 
with it, and cautiously avoided it. 

The other Fathers, too, openly professed their 
obligations to this excellent man. The found- 
ing and preserving of the town of St. Jeronymo 
is chiefly to be attributed to him. Except 
three little huts, hastily constructed by the 
Spaniards, every thing was done under the 
direction, and by the labour of Ychoalay, par- 
ticularly when it was removed to the southern 
shore. It was necessary to erect a little builds 



HISTORY OF THE AEIPONES. 



159 



ing for the performance of divine service, a 
dwelling-house for the Fathers, some cottages 
for the shepherds, and large folds for the cattle. 
There was likewise occasion to fortify the court- 
yard of our house with stakes, that in sudden 
incursions of the savages it might afford a de- 
fence to the women and children ; huts were 
also to be constructed for the Abipones, who, 
till then, had sheltered themselves under mats. 
For these purposes many thousands of trees 
must be cut down, carried home, and worked 
upon. Ychoalay was the life of the labour and 
the labourers. He was always the first to take 
up the axe, the last to lay it down, instigating 
the Abipones to diligence more by example 
than by precept. 

The Fathers, as a mark of their gratitude, 
presented the industrious Ychoalay with a hat 
adorned with broad silver fringe, which, that 
he might not appear to slight their kindness, he 
accepted, at the same time however expressing 
himself careless of elegancies of that kind. He 
had scarcely worn the hat twice in the street, 
when .some Abipon requested and obtained it. 
Ychoalay would freely bestow beautiful woollen 
garnients of many colours, fresh from his wife's 
loom, on any one who asked for them. By this 
liberality he wrought so much, that all were 
ready to lend him their assistance whenever he 



^«?; 



160 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



,! .1': 



■fliW 



stood in need of it, either in shearing sheep, or 
ploughing fields in his estate, whither a vast 
number of persons of both sexes flocked every 
year to assist Ychoalay. The wages of the 
labourers consisted of nothing more than their 
board, and gratuitous largesses during the year. 
Though he gave those who laboured for him 
plenty to eat, yet economy was not forgotten. 
He sent the more agile Abipones to the shores 
of the Parana, to hunt deer, on the flesh of 
which, and on that of oxen, he fed those who 
were employed in labouring in the fields. Out 
of his own herds he used to slay the males 
only, wisely sparing the mothers to increase the 
stock. " The Indians," said he, " are eager 
to devour the cows, never considering that bulls 
don't bring forth young. If the Spaniards had 
always fed upon cows, we should, long since, 
have been destitute both of cows and bulls." 

In other things also, he evinced his superiority 
over the rest of the Indians. The herb of Para- 
guay, which is in common use amongst all ranks 
in Paraguay, he drank when it was oitered him, 
but never requested it of us. He prudently 
feared, that if, by a too frequent use, he accus- 
tomed himself to this costly beverage, he should 
some time or other be obhged either to beg or 
buy it. We dealt out a portion of this herb 
ev^ry day to the Abipones who were employed 



.^^ 



HlSTORt OF THE ABIPONES. 



161 



^ith the axe or the plough, but Ydhoalay 
advised them to make no use of it. " Ac-^ 
customed as you are from childhood," said he^ 
" to cold water, why can you not refrain 
from this hot drink ? Unless you practise this 
abstinence, habit will become a second nature^ 
and make you unable to do without it. The 
Fathers will supply you with the herb whilst 
you are ploughing ; but when you cease from 
that employment they will deny it, because 
they are obliged to purchase it at a high price. 
Abstain, therefore, whilst you have it^ and you 
will never be distressed by the want of it." 

It is the custom of the Abipones and Moco- 
bios to weary the Fathers with perpetual and 
importunate requests. We took a pleasure in 
gratifying them to the utmost of our power, but 
they frequently asked for things which we had 
not to give, and which you could not find in any 
warehouse at Amsterdam. Ychoalay, though 
desired to acquaint us with whatever he stood 
in need of, could never be induced to ask us 
any favour. Though the fame of his warlike 
prowess was so great as almost to excite envy, 
he would never accept of the honours of a cap- 
tain, nor suffer himself to be enrolled amongst 
the Heecheri, and always used the dialect of 
the common people : and though his numerous 
military achievements entitled him often to 



VOL. III. 



M 



162 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



change his name, he always retained his primi- 
tive one of Ychoalay. So great was his dislike 
of ostentation in apparel and horse-trappings, 
that he scorned to keep company with some 
youths, who gave themselves proud airs, and 
fed daintily. Conscious of his own merits, he 
had, undeniably, a very high opinion of himself, 
^et he detested flattery, and never boasted of 
any thing but of being no braggadocio. He 
could not bear that his rivals Oaherkaikin and 
Debayakaikin should be preferred to himself; 
yet when informed of any brave action per- 
formed by one of his own nation in battle, he 
would overflow in his praise. You will learn 
many things reflecting honour on the noble 
Ychoalay, in my relation of the vicissitudes of 
the furious war between the Riikah^s and Na- 
kaiketergeh^s. 



^1] 



I. A'gt f 



HISTORV OF THE ABIPONES. 



163 



CHAPTER XVi. 

CONCERNING THE HOSTILE INCURSION ATTEMPTED BY 
DEBAYAKAIKIN AND HIS SAVAGE CONFEDERATES 
AGAINST THE TOWN OF ST. JERONYMO. 

Debayakaikin, the head of the Nakaiketer- 
geh6s, provoked, as w^as related, to a skirmish 
by Ychoalay, threatened the tiew colony of St. 
Jeronymo with destruction^ and its inhabitants 
the Riikak6s with a universal massacre. He 
associated with himself, in this expedition, the 
Mocobios and Tobas, who dwelt towards the 
north ; and by great promises of booty^ induced 
the Vilelas to enter into a warlike alliance with 
him, and furnished them with horses capable of 
undertaking a long journey. Ychoalay could 
neither be ignorant, nor careless of the inten- 
tions, strength, and preparations of the enemy. 
To provide therefore for the safety of his people, 
he sends a troop of Mocobios to guard the town, 
and hastens to the Governor of Sta. F^ to ask 
for supplies, which were justly owed by the 
right of friendship and of promises; neverthe- 
less he obtained nothing but words and excuses; 
for at that time most of the soldiers of the city 
were employed across the Parana, against the 

m2 



mi 
m 



m 



164 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Charruas, savages whom they had reduced to 
subjection. 

Whilst Ychoalay was vainly seeking assistance 
in every quarter, Debayakaikin conducted his 
forces with all possible secrecy towards the 
south, but did not precipitate his assault on the 
colony, choosing rather to make use of craft. 
He sent forward some of his people with a 
commission to spread a report, that Debayakai- 
kin did not intend attempting any thing against 
the colony of St. Jeronymo, but that the savage 
Mocobios purposed an immediate assault on the 
town of Concepcion, which was ten leagues 
distant from that of Jeronymo, and inhabited 
by the Abipones under the authority of Alaykin. 
Debayakaikin had two reasons for spreading 
these fictitious reports. The first was, that, as 
soon as the inhabitants of St. Jeronymo under- 
stood themselves to be out of danger of an 
attack, the Christian Mocobios, who acted as 
guards, would be sent back to their town of St. 
Xavier. The other was, that the Abipones of 
the town of Concepcion, whilst in hourly expec- 
tation of a hostile attack at home, would not be 
able even to think of succouring the inhabitants 
of St. Jeronymo against Debayakaikin. In both 
points the stratagem succeeded entirely to his 
wish. It is worth while to give a relation of the 
whole event, of which I myself was a spectator. 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



165 



The colony of St. Jeronymo had scarcely more 
than a thousand head of kine remaining, the bulls 
being almost all consumed ; and of this number 
the greatest part of the cows were either with 
young, or engaged in giving suck, to spare which 
the Fathers requested my companion and myself, 
then residing in the town of Concepcion, to 
send them two hundred bullocks for the support 
of the Indians, dispatching Raphael de los 
Rios, the guard of their estate, to carry the 
beasts away. That this business might be 
properly conducted, I resolved to accompany 
the guards of the cattle myself. When every- 
thing was in readiness for the journey, T obser- 
ved the Abipones running up and down the 
streets armed with arrows, and heard one of 
them charge my companion Sanchez, in the 
name of Alaykin, to have his musket in readiness, 
as their enemies the Mocobios were expected 
about evening. The road I was going being 
that which would be taken by the Mocobios, 
my companion endeavoured to persuade me to 
defer my journey, but could not succeed with 
one who despised these vague reports, as they 
proved to be, for we did not meet so much as 
the enemy's shadow the whole morning. On 
entering St. Jeronymo I spied Fathers Francisco 
Navalon and Joseph Klein: Joseph Brigniel 
^nd Ychoalay were at that time absent, being 

M 3 



166 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



Still intent upon procuring subsidies in the city 
of Sta. Fe. The next day, which was Sunday, 
at Father Navalon's urgent request, the Caciques 
of the Abipones and Mocobios deliberated on 
what was best to be done. The presence of 
the Mocobios contributed much towards the 
safety of the town; but as those guards daily 
consumed a great quantity of beef, tobacco, 
salt, and the herb, of Paraguay, they were 
deemed ruinous to the public stores; their 
dismission seemed proper on this account like- 
wise, that according to report, the town had 
nothing to fear for the present from Debayakai- 
kin; who however was concealed with his forces 
in a neighbouring wood, awaiting nothing but 
the departure of the Mocobios, to begin the 
assault. 

The Mocobios departing early the next morn- 
ing, which was Sunday, Debayakaikin divided 
his forces into three companies, and sallied 
from his hiding-place by three different ways, 
in the very sight of the town. Its guard, 
Raphael de los Rios, who happened to be at 
that time reposing in his hut, was pierced with 
many and deep wounds by an Abipon, whose 
father had fallen in the skirmish between Ycho- 
alay and Oaherkaikin. At the same time, part 
of the Guaranies who guarded the cattle were 
taken captive, whilst the rest, who were on 



ttiiiif 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



167 



horseback, saved themselves by speedy flight. 
The herds, which were assembled in one place, 
as usual in the evening, and about two thou- 
sand horses, became the uncontested prey of 
the enemy. When these tidings were learnt 
from trusty messengers, and the concourse of 
enemies was beheld on the opposite shore, a great 
trepidation seized upon the whole town. Of 
the Abipones, most of whom, either through 
ignorance or apprehension of the ensuing at- 
tack, had gone out to hunt wild horses, a few 
days before, there remained at home no more 
than eighty, who, whilst Debayakaikin was 
committing these ravages in the estate, were 
engaged in a merry carouse with their Cacique 
Ychamenraikin ; but on receiving information 
of the near approach of the enemy, though in a 
state of intoxication, they all blackened their 
faces, and flew on the swiftest horses, and 
amidst the deadly clangor of trumpets, to the 
bank of the river, not so much with the inten- 
tion of fighting the enemy, as of preventing 
them from crossing the river. Debayakaikin, 
whom long experience in war had rendered 
exceedingly cautious, thought it unsafe to send 
his men across to the opposite shore, which the 
enemies had got possession of, and to hazard 
a doubtful contest. It was treated of by 
legates, and resolved by mutual consent^ that 

m4 



168 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the battle should be deferred till the morrow,; 
as the sun was hastening to set, and little of 
the day remained. 

On the approach of night, our heroes re- 
turned, and slept themselves sober in their own 
tents. As they did not place any great reli- 
ance on the promises of the enemy, horsemen 
were sent to watch throughout the whole plain, 
who by the uninterrupted sound of horns and 
trumpets testified their vigilance, and if they 
observed any thing hostile, announced it to the 
rest. The warlike sounds of the savages were 
accompanied by an incessant noise in the 
heavens: for the weather, during the whole of 
the night, was extremely tempestuous, with 
loud thunder, stormy wind, lightning, and heavy 
rain. The women and children passed th& 
mght in the open air, in our court-yard, which 
was exposed to the wet on every side ; so that 
in the light dispensed by the flashes of light- 
nmg, they appeared to me like so many frogs 
swimming in a pond. In my hut they de^ 
posited their pots, gourds, pitchers, and other 
moveables, to save them from the depredations 
of the enemy. Inexpressible was my horror at 
beholding amongst the baggage of the old wo- 
men, some skulls of Spaniards, formerly slain 
by the Abipones, preserved as trophies. I do 
not remember ever having passed a more tu- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



169 



multuous night, during my whole residence in 
America. I accused the sun of returning too 
slowly. About day-break, when the tempest 
was abated, though the lightning had not yet 
ceased, I ran to the market-place, where I 
saw a number of Abipones, assembling at the 
end of the town, which they considered a fit 
place for the ensuing combat. The army was 
arranged by Ychamenraikin in such a manner, 
that the spearmen occupied each side, the 
archers the centre ; and all were on foot. A 
troop of horse commanded by Ychohake, Ycho- 
alay's brother, had it in charge, to learn and 
instantly report the motions of the enemy, the 
ways they took, and every thing else con- 
cerning them. They stood in battle-array till 
noon, when the emissaries, returning from the 
country, announced that nothing but the foot- 
steps of the enemy were to be seen. All hope, 
or rather fear of an engagement being at an 
end, they returned home, and the army was 
dissolved without the loss of a drop of blood. 
The enemy being gone, the dead body of 
the Spaniard which had been wounded in such 
a manner, that the bowels fell out, was brought 
from the estate, and conveyed to the grave with 
the Christian forms of burial. 



*•>. - .^*. »:- 



170 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



i! II 



CHAPTER XVII. 

CONCERNING REPEATED EXPEDITIONS UNDERTAKEN BY 
YCHOALAY AGAINST OAHERKAIKIN, AND THE OTHER 
ABIPONES NAKAIKETERGEHES. 

YcHOALAY, on returning from Sta. F^, was 
highly incensed when he heard of the events 
that had taken place in his absence, and bitterly 
reproached his countrymen for their want of 
diligence in watching the enemy whilst they 
were approaching, and of energy in repelling 
them, when present. He continually revolved 
in his mind the injury done to his town by 
Debayakaikin, and not being able to digest it, 
appointed a new excursion against him. Hasten^ 
ing therefore to the city of Sta. F^, he requested 
soldiers to attend him on the purposed expe- 
dition, but obtained only thirty, which the Royal 
Vice-Governor was chiefly actuated to grant 
by the consideration, that the death of the 
Spaniard slain by Debayakaikin's soldiers ought 
to be revenged by the arms of Spaniards. The 
soldiers sent on the Vice-Governor's account, 
however, little interested about the success of 
the expedition, wished to remain as guards in 
the town of St. Jeronymo, whilst Ychoalay 



iW 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



171 



went with his people against the enemy : but 
on his sternly declaring that guards for the 
Abiponian women in the absence of their hus- 
bands were neither necessary, nor even endur- 
able, they at last began the journey with the 
other company of Abipones. But, alas! how 
short a one did it prove! The ways had been 
rendered impassable by the spreading inunda- 
tions of so many rivers, and the whole country 
was flooded to such a degree, that not a turf 
appeared on which the horsemen might lie down, 
or their horses take pasture. All hope of further 
progress being at a stop, they were obliged to 
return to the town, and thus an expedition 
undertaken with so much noise, was terminated 
in three days, without any advantageous result. 
Ychoalay, though naturally of an iron constitu- 
tion, was seized, on his return home, with a 
burning fever, and a kind of small-pox, called 
by the Spaniards Las viruelas bobas. Without 
waiting for his complete recovery, he set off, 
with a small troop, against Oaherkaikin, by 
whom he was wounded, in a bloody skirmish, 
with two arrows, as I have related in a former 
part of this work. 

The wounds that had been inflicted, though 
now healed, exasperated Ychoalay's mind, and 
stimulated him to a fresh excursion against 
Oaherkaikin. Not only all the Abipones of 




172 



HISTORY OF THE ABIBONES. 



the towns of St. Jeronymo, and Concepcion, but 
numbers of Christian Mocobios followed Ychoa- 
lay. They penetrated to the enemies' stations 
and fought long and desperately. Debayakaikin 
himself was dangerously wounded in the sid e with 
a spear, and would have been slain by Ychoalay 
had not some one else thrown himself before 
him. Although both armies had fought with 
equal success, and though victory inclined to 
neither side, yet Debayakaikin, alarmed at his 
wound, and the ferocity of those who had 
inflicted it, did not like to engage any more 
with Ychoalay, and sought how he might avoid 
the dangerous necessity of meeting him again 
m the field. He also began to entertain sus- 
picions of his neighbours the northern Mocobios, 
ever since his colleague Kaapetfaikin, with his 
two sons and three other Abipones, had been 
treacherously murdered by them whilst passing 
the mght in the open plain. For the benefit of 
his affairs, therefore, he removed with his whole 
^ horde to the colony of St. Ferdinand, the resi- 
dence of the Yaaukaniga Abipones, by means 
of whose friendship and the support of the 
Corrientine Spaniards, he trusted to enjoy 
tranquillity. But in avoiding Charybdis, he fell 
upon Scylla. 

For Ychoalay, deeming this union with the 
Yaaukanigas a measure pursued with no peace- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



173 



ful intention, and far from conducive to 
the advantage of his own town, went thither 
Avith a great number of Abipones and Chris- 
tian Mocobios, and denounced battle against 
his implacable foe, Debayakaikin. The provi- 
dent care of the Fathers prevented them from 
coming to blows. They sent to Corrientes for 
the Vice-Governor Patron, who, though he 
came accompanied by a number of soldiers, 
was more desirous to perform the office of 
peace-maker, than to espouse the cause of 
either of the enemies. Things fell out accord- 
ing to his wish. Peace was established on the 
following conditions, which were dictated by 
Ychoalay; that Debayakaikin should restore 
the three spears which he had taken from 
Ychoalay in the first engagement, as well as 
the captives from the estate of St. Jeronymo; 
that he should not devise frauds against the 
colonies of the Spaniards, and the Indians in 
amity with them ; and that he should remain 
quiet and harmless in the colony of St. Ferdi- 
nand, bearing it in mind that, if he departed to 
any other place, war would be renewed against 
him. Debayakaikin's present trepidation com- 
pelled him eagerly to embrace these conditions, 
which, however, he neglected at his pleasure, 
when free from fear. He was repeatedly at- 
tacked in the town itself, and robbed of all his 





^'i te.vA::>(^_— , - 



174 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



horses by the northern Mocobios, under pre- 
text of some injuries they had received from 
him. His countrymen with their place of 
residence did not change their line of conduct, 
continuing still intent upon secretly plundering 
and slaughtering the Spaniards; which De- 
bayakaikin foresaw would neither remain long 
concealed from Ychoalay, nor be tamely en"^ 
dured by him. In continual fear therefore of 
his enemies, the Mocobios in the north, and in 
the south of Ychoalay and his allies, who were 
still nearer to him, he removed with his people 
to the more distant town of Concepcion, then 
near the colonies of St. lago : which, though 
contrary to the conditions of the peace, was 
digested in silence by the Abipones Riikahes, 
till fresh injuries, like a hostile trumpet, stirred 
them up to fresh rage, and fresh contests. 

Some Abipones complained to Ychamen- 
raikin, that as they were returning from hunt- 
ing wild horses, they had been scourged and 
plundered by some of Debayakaikin s people. 
Moreover they announced that a very numerous 
horde of Nakaiketergehes had been discovered 
by them in the country between the cities of 
Sta. Fe and St. lago. The Cacique pronounces 
this station dangerous to travelling Spaniards, 
and an infringement upon the peace established, 
and exclaims that he will set out the next day. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



175 



and discover these hostile Abipones. The 
Christian Mocobios are called upon, and within 
a few hours a company of almost three hundred 
men is assembled. After a few days' journey 
they discovered the hostile horde, but did not 
make a sudden attack upon it. Not to appear 
deficient in courtesy, they sent forward two 
heralds to desire the enemies, in a friendly 
manner, instantly to restore the horses they 
had unjustly carried off, and to ask pardon for 
the injury they had committed. The blast of 
trumpets, by which twenty men challenged 
three hundred to the fight, was their answer. 
From words they proceeded to blows. Ycha- 
menraikin, the Commander in Chief, and the 
foremost in the foremost rank, was pierced by 
an arrow in the left eye, and instantly expired. 
Inconceivable was the fury that inflamed the 
minds of the soldiers, at sight of their dead 
leader. "Come on," was the universal cry: "let 
none of the enemy depart alive." Their hands 
answered to their tongues : for all the spearmen 
rushed at once upon the adverse army. In 
truth, twenty might thus have been destroyed 
v\rith little difficulty by three hundred, had they 
not with incredible firmness opposed themselves 
as a wall to their adversaries. Though wounded 
all over, they still continued to oppose spears to 
spears, and weapons to weapons, not receding 



t P^ K ^r'-A^^ 



176 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



a hair's breadth from the line of battle. The 
victors cut off the heads of those most renowned 
for valour, and carried them home as trophies. 
Two, who fell amongst the dead bodies and, 
being thought lifeless, had, the one an ear, the 
other a finger cut off by a Mocobio, appeared a 
a few months after alive, in the town of St. 
Ferdinand. 

All the men being slain, the Mocobios, irri- 
tated by the death of their Cacique, took delight 
m venting their fury on the women, who had 
taken refuge in a neighbouring wood. Forty 
women and children were slain, and many taken 
captive; which cruelty, as it was exercised 
towards the defenceless, we all condemned 
m the strongest manner. Many of our Abi- 
pones and Mocobios were wounded, but none 
slain except Ychamenraikin. The bones of this 
Cacique, after being stripped of the flesh, 
received the last obsequies, accompanied by 
the tears of the whole town, and by funeral 
rites, as has been related elsewhere. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



177 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



OF FRESH DISTURBANCES OF THE TOWN, ARISING FROM 
THE VICTORY GAINED BY THE INHABITANTS. 

Debayakaikinj upon hearing of this slaugh- 
ter of his people, made no end of storming and 
threatening the victorious Riikah^s. Not one 
of his fellow-hordesmen but raved with grief at 
some injury he had sustained from it: one 
mourned the death or captivity of a son ; ano- 
ther of a husband ; a third of a wife or brother. 
The life of Father Joseph Sanchez, priest of 
the town of Concepcion, was placed in extreme 
danger, as they declared their intention of re- 
venging on every Spaniard, the slaughter they 
had suffered from the Abipones and Mocobios, 
the friends of the Spaniards. Had not Barreda 
restrained the enraged people, all the Nakaike- 
tergeh^s would have instantly flown to devastate 
the colonies of St. Jeronymo and St. Xavier, 
whither Landriel was sent in the name of Bar- 
reda to require restitution of the captives* 
Ychoalay, respecting the wishes of the Vice- 
Governor, though not the threats of Debaya- 
kaikin, cheerfully assented to this demand, but 



VOL. III. 



N 





^-f^ts^ 



178 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONESi 



'n), 



his example was not followed by the Mocobios; 
which irritated the savages, and made them re- 
solve to extort by arms what the Spaniards 
could not obtain by prayers. We learnt from 
trusty messengers that the enemies would be 
at the town of St. Jeronymo in a few days. 
Thrown into the utmost consternation we re- 
quested the Mocobios to lend us supplies, 
which they refused, alleging the perilous state 
of their own town, and the necessity they were 
under of providing for the security of it. All 
hope of succour being thus denied us, whatever 
could contribute to our defence was wisely and 
diligently ordered by Ychoalay. Many watch- 
men were appointed each night, and scouts 
sent backwards and forwards. Debayakaikin, 
learning from his spies that we were in daily 
expectation of him, that his expedition might 
not terminate like the former one, thought pro- 
per to defer it for some weeks, and then fell 
suddenly upon us, when we were not expecting 
any thing hostile. 

On the night after Whitsuntide, he and his 
forces crept into the plain adjoining the town, 
,and employed themselves till morning in col- 
lecting droves of horses, and in wounding the 
oxen with spears. At break of day, as I was 
performing divine service, Pachieke and Zapan- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



179 



cha, who were sent by Debayakaikin to chal- 
lenge the townsmen to join battle with him^ 
arrived. Ychoalay replied, in the name of the 
rest, that they did not want courage to accept 
the challenge, but horses to convey them to the 
place appointed for the combat; which, as the 
enemy had themselves taken in the night, they 
might now make use of for the purpose of ap- 
proaching the town, where he and his people 
would await them in battle-array. And, in fact, 
the Abipones, assembling from all quarters, 
soon formed an army, the front of which Ychoa- 
lay occupied on horseback. Whilst Ychoalay 
was sharpening the point of his lance on a whet- 
stone in our court-yard, and greasing it with tal- 
low that it might enter more readily into the 
flesh, I spoke to him about baptism, knowing 
that the weapons of all would be directed parti- 
cularly at him, and endeavouring, at all events, 
to secure his salvation. But alas! I preached 
to deaf ears, so far was he from listening or at- 
tending to me, and so entirely engrossed by 
warlike affairs. From such mighty preparations 
for war, what could be expected but fields 
smoking with blood ? Yet nothing but noise en- 
sued; and the day passed entirely without 
slaughter: for about noon, as we were standing 
in form of battle, and expecting every moment 

N 2 




. -■umif!/^'^ 



180 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the attack of the enemies, Debayakaikin at 
length made answer by the mouth of a herald, 
that he did not judge it expedient to join battle 
in sight of the town, where, he doubted not, we 
had a supply of muskets ; deterred by a ground- 
less apprehension of which, he departed without 
attempting any thing further. After weather- 
ing so great a storm^ we were surprized, about 
evening, by another, which was the more terri- 
ble from being unforeseen. Ychoalay suddenly 
interrupted me as I was conversing with Father 
Brigniel. *' Ho! you Fathers," said he, with 
an unusually gloomy countenance, " my whole 
nation, weary of this colony, and of the 
friendship of the Spaniards, intend desertion — 
nor can I blame them. On account of the Spa- 
niards, we have taken up arms against our 
countrymen and relations, and have combated 
them to this very day, with fortune, alas ! hovi^ 
various! They have been our enemies ever since 
we professed ourselves the friends of the Spani- 
ards and their firm defenders against Debaya- 
kaikin, Oaherkaikin, and their followers ! How 
many droves of horses have they taken from us; 
how many wounds have they inflicted on usf 
how many deaths of our fellow-soldiers have they 
caused us to lament! The Spaniards were not 
ignorant of all this, yet they quietly looked on, 



i ■ ''■^" - -^ 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



181 



and never seriously thought of lending us the 
promised assistance. On this account it is 
that the minds of my comrades are suddenly 
alienated, and that they are preparing for flight. 
I advise you to write immediately to the Vice- 
Governor for soldiers, to conduct you safe back 
to the lands of the Spaniards, before the Indians, 
exasperated by the loss of horses they have this 
day suffered, have time to think of taking away 
your lives." We both promised to follow his 
advice, adding that he might feel assured the 
Vice-Governor would do all in his power to as- 
sist and console our Abipones. The truth of 
Ychoalay's representations was betrayed by the 
sullen and threatening eyes of the other Abi- 
pones, in which we plainly read their grief at so 
great a loss of horses, and their ill-will to the 
Spaniards. That night we wrote an account of 
the perilous state of our affairs to the Vice-Go- 
vernor; but even Ychoalay had great difficulty 
in finding any one who would carry the letters, 
as the weather had been stormy for many days 
past. Indeed the journey seemed impracticable 
whilst all the roads were flooded with water. In 
the mean time it was greatly to be feared, that 
when intelligence was received of the Vice-Go- 
vernor's determination, the Indians, enraged at 
an unsatisfactory reply, would turn their backs 

N 3 




182 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



on the colony, and after murdering the Jesuits, 
return to their former habits of plunder. Yet 
when affairs seemed desperate, an unhoped-for 
calm succeeded to this terrible storm. Provi- 
dence clearly shone forth in the unexpected 
events which I am going to relate. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



183 



CHAPTER XIX. 

YCHOALAY, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SPANIARDS, TAKES 
A COMPANY OF HOSTILE ABIPONES, AND, ON ANOTHER 
OCCASION, FIGHTS SUCCESSFULLY WITH OAHERKAIKIN. 

The Charruas, a fierce equestrian nation, after 
being long formidable to travellers on the eastern 
bank of the Parana, were at length made cap- 
tive, for the most part, by a troop of horse from 
Sta. F^, and assembled in a colony founded in 
the plain Cajasta, where they were instructed 
in the divine law by a priest of the order of 
St. Francis. These savages, formerly so sloth- 
ful, were impelled by hunger to make great 
exertions in cultivating land. But the plains 
adjacent to the town, being in great part 
marshy, scarce aiForded a place where seed 
could be sown with any prospect of a har- 
vest, and the hill occupied by the colony 
seemed too small for the number of inhabitants. 
On which account, some Charruas were sent by 
the priest to explore the remoter plains, and 
endeavour to find a better situation for the 
colony. On their return, they communicated 
their discovery of a very numerous horde of 
Abipones near La Laguna Blanca., The Vice- 

N 4 





i I : '' 



184 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Governor of Sta. Fe, when informed of this 
circumstance, judged habitations of hostile Abi- 
pones insufferable in a place where they had 
such a good opportunity of sallying forth to 
annoy the colonies of the Spaniards. He ap- 
pointed a troop of his own horse to drive away 
that hostile horde, and wrote to us to request 
that Ychoalay, with his people and with the 
Mocobios, might join them. 

The Vice-Governor's letter, which was deli- 
vered to us as we were at dinner, dispersed the 
cloud that overspread our minds, like a propi- 
tious star. Ychoalay got every thing in readi- 
ness the same evening, and set out the next 
day with a numerous company almost before 
sun-rise. There was not one amongst them all 
that did not follow him with a cheerful mind, 
not one that complained of want of horses. 
For although the enemy had taken great num- 
bers of them but a very short time before, yet 
many, still lurking in the remoter pastures, 
escaped both their eyes and hands. Ychoalay 
rode on before the rest, and reached the plain 
specified by the Vice-Governor, where he found 
th© Spanish horsemen on foot and fasting, their 
horses and oxen having left them in the night. 
Both were recovered by the sagacity of Ychoa- 
lay. Soon after, under the guidance of the 
Charruas, they hastened to the shores of La 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



185 



Laguna Blanca, which, however, they found 
already deserted by the Abipones, and whither 
they had removed was difficult to conjecture. 
Ychoalay was commissioned by the Spaniards 
to seek the abode of the fugitives. All places 
being diligently examined under his direction, 
the enemy's stations were at length discovered, 
and at the same time so closely besieged, that 
all hope of flight or victory being precluded, 
they every one yielded to the conquerors. 
They were deprived of their arms, and brought 
like captives to the town of St. Jeronymo, with 
a crowd of women and boys. 

The event of this expedition exasperated the 
minds of all the Nakaiketergeh6 Abipones, 
as much as it elated those of our nation ; and 
proved a stimulus to the enemies to pursue the 
war with still more pertinacity. That three of 
the most formidable of the captives, Zapancha 
and Pachieke, and a brother-in-law of Alaykin, 
whose face dwells in my memory, though not 
his name, were kept in chains in the port of 
Monte- Video, was what the Nakaiketergehes 
could never digest, and what they embraced 
every opportunity to avenge. A few months 
after, to omit other instances, seven inhabitants 
of St. Jeronymo were treacherously slain, 
whilst travelling, by the tribesmen of Oaher- 
kaikin. Ychoalay, thinking these atrocities no 



186 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



longer to be endured, led a hundred and twenty- 
five Riikah^s against Oaherkaikin, whose en- 
campments were then forty leagues north of 
the town. 

I, who was then removed to the town of St. 
Ferdinand, through which Ychoalay was to pass 
with his troop, had a good deal of trouble and 
anxiety on account of this expedition, fearing 
that our Yaaukanigas, who had long been hostile 
to Ychoalay, would take part with Oaherkaikin, 
and involve our town in the troubles of war. 
The day before Ychoalay and his company ar- 
rived, a scout of his, who had been sent for- 
ward to explore the roads taken by the enemy, 
and their places of concealment, came to me in 
the early part of the night. In the space of an 
hour he was followed by a second, and then by 
a third. The two latter returned, at night to 
relate to Ychoalay what they had seen and 
heard, but the first, who was called Rochus 
Chiruilin, passed the night in my house. 

The same day at noon, Ychoalay and his 
people arrived, in such an orderly band, with so 
much silence, and such decent habiliments, that 
I should have taken them for a troop of Spa- 
niards. They were all furnished with iron 
spears, with hats, and Spanish saddles. A hill 
which slopes towards the town was the place 
where they chose to encamp. They were de- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



187 



fended against sudden assaults by a wood be- 
hind, and by a ditch on each side, and had a 
full view of the plain beneath, where their horses 
were feeding, so that if any treacherous attack 
were meditated it would be immediately per- 
ceived. They passed the night in the open air, 
placed in a row describing the form of a semi- 
circle, as that figure contributes much to the 
mutual defence of a few against many. When 
lying down they make use of saddles instead 
of a pillow, and the housings of their horses 
serve them for a mattress. Every one has his 
spear fixed in the ground close at hand. Four 
or six feed their fire, which is kept up to give 
light in the night ; whilst others, who are ap- 
pointed to keep watch for the security of the 
sleepers, and of the horses, traverse the plain 
on horseback, and if they observe any thing 
alarming or unusual, give notice of it to those 
who are reposing, by horns and trumpets. 

There was not one of the Abiponian guests 
who did not run to my house to ask me how I 
did ; for, having lived two years in the town 
of St. Jeronymo, I knew and loved them all. 
Ychoalay, by reason of our old intimacy, con- 
versed with me in a friendly manner for some 
hours every day. All my anxiety and my ar- 
guments were directed towards persuading him 
to baptism. I expatiated on the perils to 



[ s 



188 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



which he was going to expose his life. But he, 
confiding in the number and fidelity of his fellow- 
soldiers, would not allow that he stood in any 
danger, and owned himself too much engaged 
in warlike cares to be in a fit state for pious 
thoughts of that kind. I was also anxious 
on another account. I knew that my Yaau- 
kanigas were inimical to Ychoalay, but ami- 
cably inclined towards their neighbour Oaher- 
kaikin, and feared that they would assist the 
one against the other. But I advised them not 
to take part with either, if they wished to con- 
sult their own interest. I united threats with 
entreaties to deter them from attempting any 
thing against Ychoalay, who, though he did not 
stand in need of their assistance himself, would, 
I was well aware, be greatly incensed at their 
lending any to Oaherkaikin. This I repeatedly 
declared to the chief men of the town, and at 
length, forgetting their old grudge, they suf- 
fered themselves to be persuaded. Some of 
the younger went to be close spectators of the 
fight, but they carried no weapons. 

In the mean time, Oaherkaikin, being at 
length informed of Ychoalay 's journey, informed 
him, by means of a messenger, of his present 
place of abode, whither, he said, Ychoalay 
might come, and welcome ; that he himself had 
never bestowed a thought on flight or terror; 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



189 



and that his soldiers were few, but such that 
every one of them seemed to him capable of 
slaying many. The day before Ychoalay left 
us, his chief emissary Hapaleolin intercepted 
Kepakainkin, a tribesman and brother-in-law 
of Oaherkaikin. As his wife was a Nakaike- 
tergehe, whilst his brothers dwelt amongst the 
Riikah6s, he sometimes joined one tribe, some- 
times the other, and, on this very account, in- 
curred the hatred of both. Fearing the arri- 
val of Ychoalay, he withdrew fromOaherkaikin's 
horde, which was shortly to be attacked, under 
pretext of watching the motions of the enemy ; 
but in reality with a treacherous design, which 
he put in execution, of meeting with the Riika- 
h6s, and conducting them to the horde of Oa- 
herkaikin : however, he was only a spectator of 
the fight, and afterwards deserted Oaherkaikin's 
town, and betook himself to that of St. Jero- 

nymo. 

The horde of Oaherkaikin was a few leagues 
distant from the town of St. Ferdinand, nor did 
it contain more than twenty men able to bear 
arms, the rest being at that time employed in 
harassing the colonies of the Spaniards. But 
the small number of those who resisted were de- 
fended against all assaults by the natural situ- 
ation of the place. Behind, and on each side, 
they had a wood, and in front a marshy field. 



V 




?:;^isisssK^ 



190 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



which rendered access difficult, and fighting 
dangerous to the enemy. Ychoalay, with his 
usual intrepidity, left his horse, and struggled 
through the deep mud, till he arrived near 
enough to reach the enemy with arrows. The 
younger part alone followed their leader: for 
the rest, despairing of a victory amongst so 
many straits, marshes, and woods, from their 
horses, as from an orchestra, beheld their com- 
panions bravely fighting at a distance. The de- 
sertion of the old men, however, increased the 
boldness of the young ones, and more furiously 
inflamed their anger against the enemy. Oa- 
herkaikin received three deep gashes, and his 
brother was dangerously wounded in the throat 
by an arrow. Of the rest scarce one departed 
from the field of battle without a severe wound. 
Though streaming with blood, not one of them 
seemed to remove his foot from his standing 
place, or his hand from the bow; which was 
extremely honourable both to the conquered 
and to the conquerors. Ychoalay, who remained 
unhurt amid this storm of arrows, had only three 
of his people wounded, and those had previously 
received baptism. On their return to the town, 
I examined and dressed their wounds. Hapa- 
leolin was pierced by an arrow in the side, and 
a Spaniard, named Lorenzo, one of the volun- 
tary captives of the Abipones, in the arm. Ro- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONE;S. 



191 



chus Chiruilin had the tendon of his great toe 
hurt by an arrow, and remained seven weeks in 
my house till I had completely healed him. 
Whilst the battle was yet raging, some followers 
of Oaherkaikin arrived from the estates of Sta. 
F^, whence, after slaughtering the Spaniards, 
they brought many hundreds of horses, all of 
which Ychoalay took, and restored to their 
owners ; besides these, a multitude of horses, 
which Oaherkaikin had in the neighbouring pas- 
tures, also fell into his hands. 

These events having taken place in the ab- 
sence of the curate. Father Joseph Klein, I sent 
both for him and the Vice-Governor of Cor- 
rientes, fearing the doubtful event of Ychoalay 's 
expedition, and the disturbances which would, 
in all probability, ensue in our colony. He came 
on the evening of the next day with my com- 
panion, accompanied by ten Spanish horsemen, 
and, in a friendly manner, saluted Ychoalay, 
who returned from the skirmish a short time 
after, and who, at first sight, requested the 
Vice-Governor, Nicolas Patron, that those ten 
horsemen, who were all excellently armed with 
muskets, might be added to his Abipones, 
as he purposed returning immediately to de- 
stroy Oaherkaikin, the implacable enemy of 
the Spanish nation. But the Vice-Governor 




.i^ggtartr 



192 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



disapproved of his intention, and endeavoured 
to dissuade him from it. He said that to join 
battle with the wounded, appeared to him re- 
pugnant to humanity, and that however advan- 
tageous such a victory might be, it would be 
entirely devoid of glory. After many argu- 
ments on both sides of the question, Ychoalay 
at length yielded to the Vice-Governor's sug- 
gestion, that if Oaherkaikin preferred peace to 
war, he should enter this colony, refrain from 
slaughter and rapine, and promise peace and 
friendship to all the colonies of the Christians; 
but on his refusing these conditions, should be 
given to understand that Ychoalay would in- 
stantly return to meet him in the field of battle. 
These things were announced to him by a 
Yaaukaniga horseman, by whom he replied, 
that the proposed conditions met his approba- 
tion ; that, at present, neither himself nor his 
wounded companions had strength or horses 
sufficient to undertake the journey ; but that 
when their wounds were thoroughly healed, 
he, with his companions, wives, and children, 
would remove to our colony. Oaherkaikin 
kept his word: for when Ychoalay had gone 
back to his own people, he and his numerous 
family, before their wounds were even scarred 
over, came to the town of St. Ferdinand. This 
observance of the promised peace, however. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



193 



did not Outlast the fear which had induced it ; 
when released from that, he changed both his 
mind and his place of residence, continuing 
ever a plunderer, ever the chief of the Abipo- 
nian plunderers. 




o 



Ji TtJ •_*. 35 



194 



HISTORY OF THE ABTPONES. 



CHAPTER XX. 



lift 



THE WHOLE NATION OF ABIPONES ARE ASSEMBLED IN 
THREE COLONIES, BUT ARE AGAIN UNLUCKILY DIS- 
TURBED BY A WAR OF THE SPANIARDS AGAINST THE 
GUARANIES. 

On Oaherkaikin's entering the colony of St. 
Ferdinand, we beheld with joy what the Spa- 
niards of Paraguay had been vainly desiring 
ever since the time of the Emperor Charles the 
Fifth. The whole nation of Abipones were at 
length settled in three colonies ; an event which 
seemed to promise great advantage both to the 
cause of religion and that of the whole pro- 
vince. But, alas ! a sudden storm from Eu- 
rope destroyed all these flourishing hopes. The 
kings of Spain and Portugal agreed upon an 
exchange of their territories in America, in 
consequence of which those seven towns on 
the eastern shore of the Uruguay were to be 
delivered up to the Portugueze, and two-and- 
thirty thousand Christian Guaranies, who in- 
habited them, were ordered to remove to ano- 
ther place by Ferdinand the Sixth. The Guara- 
nies, full of tender attachment to their country, 
could be induced by no arguments to believe 



V.'\ 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



195 



that such a removal had been enjoined them by 
the Catholic king. This cession of the towns 
to their enemies the Portugueze, they thought 
must have been imposed pn them by way of 
punishment; though they were at a loss to 
imagine what crime they could have committed 
deserving such punishment, unless to have 
served God and the King were accounted such. 
This universal doubt impressed on the minds 
of the Indians, respecting the royal order for 
their removal, was confirmed by a most im- 
pudent lie, invented by certain wicked knaves 
amongst the lower order of Spaniards; who 
assured the Indians that the removal enjoined 
in the King's name was a fabrication of the 
Jesuits, they having themselves sold those towns 
to the Portugueze, out of a thirst for gold. The 
Guaranies, possessed with this abominable sus- 
picion, grew more and more deaf to the admo- 
nitions of the Jesuits, who, through respect to 
the King, were constantly urging their depar- 
ture. The filial affection which they had always 
borne to the Fathers being destroyed, they 
began openly to reject the authority of others, 
and to manage every thing according to their 
own pleasure. What did not the Missionaries 
do to conquer their obstinacy, and to reduce 
them to obedience! What did they not endure! 
How often did they put themselves in danger of 

o 2 



-r^ 






196 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



death ! With crowns of thorns on their heads, 
they made a mournful supplication in the streets, 
whilst a voice of thunder from the pulpit, inter- 
rupted with frequent tears, besought and ex- 
horted the people assembled in the church to 
obey the royal mandate. Miserable lamenta- 
tions or futile promises were all that could be 
extorted from them. Some, indeed, who were 
of a milder temper, departed, but, vanquished 
by the love of their native land, returned next 
day, and hardened themselves against the last 
extremities. At length, seeing that war would 
be made against them, they took up arms, and 
for some time stood out against the armed Por- 
tugueze, and the Spaniards who assisted them. 
After various vicissitudes of war, which I 
have briefly touched upon in another place, 
these seven towns were ceded by the Spaniards, 
but not accepted by the Portugueze, because 
they had at length discovered that all that ter- 
ritory along the banks of the Uruguay was des- 
titute of the supposed mines of gold and silver. 
About fourteen thousand Indian exiles were dis- 
persed up and down the plains of the Uruguay; 
nearly as many crossed the river of that name, 
and- settled in the different towns of the Parana, 
where, after quitting handsome freestone houses, 
they were thankful for the precarious subsistence 
afforded by the kindness of their countrymen. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



197 



and for cottages hastily built of straw. But 
Charles III., who was removed from the throne 
of Naples to that of Spain, cancelled the ex- 
change of lands with the Portugueze agreed on 
by his late brother Ferdinand, and commanded 
that the landmarks placed in Paraguay should 
be pulled up, war declared on the Portugueze, 
and the Guarany exiles sent back to their towns, 
the administration of which was as usual to be 
intrusted to the Jesuits. But alas! what a 
mournful appearance did these towns, formerly 
so flourishing, present, after a three years' ab- 
sence of their inhabitants ! The churches were 
shorn of their splendor, the estates spoiled of 
their cattle. The walls and roofs of the houses 
were injured by the soldiers and the weather. 
Part of the buildings were reduced to ashes. 
The untilled fields began to be overspread with 
wood, and filled with tares. The whole neigh- 
bourhood was infested with snakes and tigers. 
It seemed as if the arts and industry of a whole 
century could hardly replace or make up for 
what had been destroyed in the last three 
years. 

This terrible misfortune of the Guarany na- 
tion alarmed the minds of the Abipones, and 
estranged them from the Spaniards. With sor- 
rowful eyes they beheld all the Spaniards able 

o3 




J ' Jirjj ii' 



aa I I n 



198 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOlNrES. 



to "bear arms called out against the Guaranies. 
" If the Spaniards," said they, " are so desirous 
of war, why do they not turn their arms against 
the Guaycurus, the Aucas, Chiriguanos, Yaapi- 
talakas, and other hostile nations? Why do 
they persecute the Guaranies, their most faith- 
ful friends, who have done so much service to 
the king in the royal camps? Is the friendship 
of the Spaniards so versatile? Have they so 
short a memory as to forget the submission 
which the Guaranies have uniformly observed 
towards them?" Complaints and wonderings of 
this kind were daily felt and expressed by all. 
Nor was the affair confined to words alone. 
Many of them, either displeased by the severity 
of the Spaniards towards the Guaranies, or 
distrustful of their friendship, or tempted by the 
opportunity of pillaging, which the absence of 
the soldiers afforded, deserted their towns. 
Such were the deplorable effects of the war 
with the Guaranies. 

On the same day that Nicolas Patron went 
out against the Guaranies with troops of Cor- 
rientine horse, Oaherkaikin and his companions, 
now freed from fear, bade adieu to the colony 
of St. Ferdinand, intending to live, as formerly, 
on rapine in the country. His example was 
followed by the inhabitants of other colonies, 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



199 



They saw that, as the men were called out 
ao-ainst the Guaranies, the towns and villages of 
the Spaniards were inhabited by women only, 
or persons incapable of fighting, and that they 
mio-ht overrun the defenceless estates at their 
pleasure. Making use of this excellent oppor- 
tunity, they molested the colonies, not only of 
the Spaniards, but likewise of the Abipones,. 
especially that of St. Jeronymo, to the utmost 
of their power. Ychoalay was deserted by many 
of his people, and on that account derided by 
his enemies, because he could no longer assist 
the Spaniards, or be assisted by them, they 
being engaged in the war with the Guaranies. 
His fidelity, however, and his courage, remained 
unaltered. He afi'ronted the hostile storm on 
every side, with all the strength and arts that 
he was master of. An estate of his on the banks 
of the Malabrigo, rich in herds, flocks of sheep, 
and horses, but undefended by any guards, and 
inhabited by a few women only, was attacked 
by a company of Abipones, Mocobios, and Vile- 
las. No resistance being made, they drove 
away the cattle, took the women captive, and 
sent one old woman to tell Ychoalay that they 
had taken his cattle, and that if he was desirous 
of recovering them, he should come and give 
them battle at the Ychimaye, on the banks of 

o4 




200 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



|:ll1 



which they would await his arrival. The mes- 
sage delivered by the old woman served as a 
trumpet to Ychoalay. Spite of the weather, 
which was cold and rainy, he flew burning with 
rage to the appointed place, accompanied by a 
handful of his people. He beheld the multitude 
of enemies, attacked, and completely vanquished 
them. A good many of the enemy were slain, 
numbers wounded, and the rest put to flight ; 
and indeed every body was of opinion, that not 
one would have escaped alive, had not Ychoa- 
lay, who was wounded with an arrow in the 
arm, allowed them horses to carry them home. 
After recovering the cattle, and the female cap- 
tives of the town, Ychoalay returned, signalized 
with a severe wound, and an unexpected vic- 
tory, leaving the enemies in such consternation, 
that they even neglected to carry off" their dead. 
At another time Ychoalay, awakened by an 
alarming sound in the middle of the night, 
mounted a horse, and rode out to take a survey. 
He had scarcely gone thirty steps from his own 
door, when he saw two Toba spies, took them 
captive, and sent them, well-guarded, to the 
town of St. Xavier, where some Tobas, allies of 
the Mocobios, were dwelling. The absence of 
the Spanish soldiers rendered the Abipones, 
and other wandering savages, daily bolder and 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



201 



more mischievous to the whole province: and 
their frequent excursions were the more injuri- 
ous, because they who used, at other times, to 
repulse the enemies, were then fatigued with 
carrying on war against their friends the Gua- 



ranies. 




202 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

AN INEFFECTUAL EXPEDITION OF THE SPANIARDS 
AGAINST THE ABIPONES. 

At length the Vice-Governors of Sta. F^ and 
St. lago resolved upon attacking the Abipones, 
who had deserted the colonies, in their nor- 
thern retreats, in order to chastise and restrain 
their intolerable licence in plundering. Fran- 
cisco de Vera Muxica, with fifty horse of Sta. 
Fh, came to St. Jeronymo and joined Barreda, 
who, though accompanied by five troop of 
horse of St. lago, admitted into his society the 
Abipones who inhabit the town of Concepcion, 
with the Caciques Malakin, Debayakaikin, and 
Ypirikin, as these persons were well acquainted 
with the ways, and the retreats where the sa- 
vages are accustomed to conceal themselves. 
Having, in a few days, travelled more than 
thirty leagues northward, they reached a place 
famous for capibaris, but could not discover a 
trace of the hostile Abipones, who, betaking 
themselves to the well known recesses of the 
woods, lakes, and marshes, daily eluded the 
Spaniards. Seven armed Abipones showed 



»r • 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



203 



themselves on the border of a certain wood, de- 
fended by an unfordable river, and in mockery, 
challenged the Spaniards who passed by to 
fight. Ybarra, a brave master of the watch, 
ill enduring this jest, swam across the river 
with only five of his St. lagans. But as the 
rest of his fellow-soldiers, whom he expected to 
follow him, either delayed or refused to do so, 
he quickly swam back again to the road, fear- 
ing, that as the sun was almost set, he should 
be overtaken by the shades of night, and by a 
multitude of savages lurking within the wood. 
At last despairing of a rencounter with the 
enemy, the Spaniards returned ingloriously 
home, with empty hands, and horses miserably 
fatigued. Some blamed Barreda for taking, as 
companions of his journey, the Caciques Ma- 
lakin and Debayakaikin, whom, though appa- 
rently friends to the Spaniards, they thought 
to be treacherous in reality. More concerned 
for the safety of their countrymen, than for the 
success of the Spaniards, wherever they went, 
they sent secret intelligence of their approach 
to the wandering Abipones. That Debayakai- 
kin was ill inclined towards the Spaniards, 
when he accompanied Barreda, may be inferred 
from this circumstance, that he shortly after 
quitted the town of Concepcion with the rest 





204 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES." 



of his companions, rejoined those who had gone 
before him to the North, and became openly- 
inimical to the Spaniards. But there, as you 
will presently hear, he at the same time ceased 
to live and to be dreaded. 

The last vain endeavour of the two Vice- 
Governors confirmed the Abipones in their old 
opinion, that they could never be subdued, 
whilst scattered up and down the country, and 
acknowledging no other authority than their 
own ; and this confidence doubled their bold- 
ness in disturbing the province. The remem- 
brance of those three Abipones, who were kept 
in chains in the fort of Monte- Video, was a 
bitter wound to the Nakaiketergehes, and one 
which they declared incurable except by a 
plentiful effusion of Spanish blood. To appease 
them, therefore, the Vice-Go vernors of Sta. F^ 
and St. lago requested the Governor of Bue- 
nos- Ayres, to give liberty to those three cap- 
tives, and restore them to their countrymen. 
The Vice-Governor complied. But what they 
had looked upon as a remedy to the disturbed 
province, proved, on the contrary, the torment 
and destruction of the Spaniards. The one 
whose name has slipped my memory, had died, 
long before, in fetters ; and Zapancha, attempt- 
ing flight, had thrown himself from a high 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



205 



tower, and injured the spine of his back, so as 
to render him unfit for a journey. Pachieke, 
son of Alaykin, alone remaining, was permitted 
to return to his own country. 

Incredible were the testimonies of joy with 
which he was received by his people. He re- 
visited his wife in the town of St. Jeronymo, 
and, dissembling his furious thirst for vengeance 
on the Riikahes, the authors of his captivity, 
became apparently unmindful of his injuries, 
desirous of a better way of life, eager for quiet, 
in short, extremely unlike himself. But the- 
fire concealed beneath the ashes at length 
broke out into flames. After much secret 
deliberation, he and his companions departed 
from the town of St. Jeronymo ; and that his 
doing so might not be attributed to fear of any 
one, he chose that his flight should be accom- 
panied by considerable rapine. Hastening 
towards the north, he renewed a fellowship 
with Debayakaikin, both in arms and place of 
abode. In the prime of his age, and of a hand- 
some person, ready to engage in any bold 
enterprize, and extremely expert in plundering, 
he was soon surrounded by men of accordant 
years and purposes, who were disposed to fol- 
low him, and to distress, under his guidance, the 
colonies of the Spaniards. There was scarce a 




206 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



corner of the province which they did not 
afflict with hostile incursions. The town of 
St. Jeronymo was what Pachieke aimed most 
to ravage and devastate; but the vigilance 
and activity of the inhabitants defeated almost 
all his endeavours. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



207 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE CACIQUE DEBAYAKAIKIN SLAIN BY YCHOALAY IN 
BATTLE, AND HIS HEAD SUSPENDED FROM A GIBBET. 

YcHOALAY, not content with the name of an 
excellent defender, undertook an excursion 
against Debayakaikin, the chief of the Abipo- 
nian plunderers. Rejecting the subsidiary- 
troops of Spaniards and Mocobios, he only 
admitted into his company the bravest and 
most approvedly faithful of his own people* 
When after some days' journey he perceived 
that Debayakaikin's horde was near at hand, 
" Let us return," exclaimed he : "a panic which 
I cannot account for, has got possession of my 
mind. This unusual tremor portends some- 
thing disastrous. Come, let us return." His 
companions, revering these words as if they 
had been spoken by an oracle, were just going 
' to turn round, when " Holla !" cries another, 
" are you not ashamed to return home with 
empty hands ? I know that the horses of 
Pachieke are pasturing undefended in a neigh- 
bouring field. What hinders us from carrying 
off the whole drove, to indemnify ourselves 
for those which he robbed us of on his depar- 





*- — -- *" I*'"' 



208 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Mv' 



ture?" This advice was approved of, and 
having possessed themselves of the booty, they 
prepared for their return. Pachieke, in the 
mean time, happening to ride that way, sees 
the plain void of horses, and quickly suspecting 
the truth of the matter, from the footsteps of 
the plundering Riikahes, flies to Debayakaikin, 
laments the loss of the horses, asks for assist- 
ance, and expresses great hopes of being able to 
pursue and chastise the enemy. Without delay, 
all the neighbouring Abipones, with their Cacique 
Debayakaikin, eagerly pursue Ychoalay, whom, 
having overtaken, they challenge to the fight. 
As usual, the whole of the infantry joined 
battle. Both sides fought furiously for some 
time, till victory declared in favour of the 
lliikah6s : for Debayakaikin, the Hector of 
his people, was slain with a spear by Ychoalay ; 
many of his followers received the same fate 
from those of his adversary, and indeed, accord- 
ing to common report, not one of the enemy 
would have escaped alive, had not the conque- 
ror prevented his soldiers from slaying the rest, 
declaring that he thought no blame attached to 
the common herd of Indians, who had only 
taken up arms in obedience to their leader. 
Pachieke, flying with his people, more soli- 
citous for his own preservation than for that of 
Debayakaikin, plainly manifested that his chief 



W 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



209 



courage was displayed against the unarmed 
and unprepared. 

Ychoalay cut off the heads of Debayakaikin, 
and four of his most noble associates, and carried 
them home as trophies. Having entered the 
town, he ordered a gibbet to be erected in the 
market-place, and the five heads to be sus- 
pended from it. In the same place, sur- 
rounded by his troops, he harangued the mul- 
titude from his horse. " Behold," said he, 
pointing to the gibbet, ''the chastisement of 
faith so often violated ! Behold the trophy of 
our valour ! Now feed your eyes with the spoils 
of hostile chiefs, who, for a length of time, have 
scarce permitted you to breathe, and on whose 
account, alas ! we have endured so many sleep- 
less nights, difficult journeys, and painful 
wounds. This ever various and uncertain war- 
fare, this conflict of so many years' contiQuance, 
has at length been terminated to-day, when we, 
not even thinking of a battle, and to say the 
truth, retreating, have had a glorious victory 
thrust, as it were, upon our hands. Some- 
thing must doubtless be attributed to fortune, 
but allow me to say, still more to our valour. 
The whole affair was conducted in such a way 
as' gave me no reason to repent my choice of 
fellow-soldiers, nor you to be ashamed of the 
leader you fought under. He who has so long 

VOL. III. P 



"?T8J©ifltetR^ 



'A iri.K^ ■ ^i >^<. 



210 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



been threatening your lives, having at length 
received his death-blow from this spear, can 
now no longer threaten or inspire terror. This 
is the head which once devised so many 
treacheries. Now insult the perfidious one; 
but lest the same fate attend any of you like- 
wise, be ever regardful of your faith pledged to 
the Spaniards, and obedient to me who am so 
anxious for your welfare. I do not consider 
the vile remnant of our enemies of sufficient im- 
portance to be deserving of our fear. The most 
warlike are dead. The survivors are either 
cowards or runaways, and owe their present 
existence merely to having escaped our eyes and 
hands. The streams dry up when their spring 
is exhausted, and after the head of the snake 
has been cut off, the rest of the body, though it 
may move, is incapable of doing any mischief, 
and wastes away in a few hours. After the 
extinction of their leaders, whose heads you 
here behold, the inimical faction, either from 
despair of victory, or apprehension of utter 
ruin, will, by degrees, grow milder, and, laying 
aside all enmity, accept our friendship." 
Nearly to this effect, did Ychoalay, who, from a 
leader, had become an orator, hold forth, and 
attract to himself the eyes and ears of all ; for 
no one doubted that his words answered to his 
deeds, and his tongue to his hands. Do not 



>!»- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



211 



imagine that I have composed this oration 
myself, and put it into the mouth of the savage. 
Many years' experience has proved to me 
that the Americans can discourse on subjects 
suited to their capacities, not only with prolixity, 
but with elegance, and embellish their asser- 
tions with metaphors, similes, and figures of 
speech. They are certainly much more copious 
and fluent in their language than the rustics of 
our country. 

The four sons of Debayakaikin repaired at 
first to Ychoalay's horde, but quitted it soon 
after, and took to a wandering course of 
life. But neither of them, though sufiiciently 
advanced in years, was thought worthy to 
succeed his father in the ofiice of Cacique. The 
whole nation, divided into small parties, lived 
together under their own authority. Some 
followed Oaherkaikin, others Pachieke, but 
many chose for their leader Revachigi, a man of 
low birth, and few years, but in noble actions, 
and endowments of mind and body, superior to 
any veteran. 

The Nakaiketergehes, though dispersed in 
various hordes, prosecuted the war against the 
Riikah^s, with minds ever unanimous, and 
strength as far as possible united, the recent 
slaughter of Debayakaikin stimulating them to 
vengeance. Pachieke, pertinaciously hostile to 

p2 






212 



HISTORY 0¥ THE ABIPONES. 



the Cordobans, was at length slain in an am- 
buscade in the country, and his death was a 
fresh occasion for hostile excursions against the 
Spaniards. It would be endless to relate the 
ever-varying successes of this war, by which 
the town of St. Jeronymo was terribly afflicted, 
the progress of religious and domestic affairs 
retarded, and the patience of the fathers won- 
derfully exercised. But though they had to 
contend, during twenty years, with scarcity, 
daily danger of their lives, and hostile machi- 
nations, they never thought for a moment of 
deserting the colony, and at last succeeded so 
far that they joyfully beheld more than eight 
hundred persons initiated into the rites of the 
Church of Rome, besides Ychoalay. If to 
these you add the infants or adults baptized by 
them, when dying of the small-pox, or other 
diseases, you will judge that they had no 
despicable fruits of their Apostolic labours. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



213 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



THE ORIGIN AND COMMENCEMENT OF A COLONY OF 
ABIPONES, NAMED FROM THE CONCEPTION OF THE 
DIVINE MOTHER. 

Christopher Almaraz may be called the foun- 
der of this colony ; he certainly was the oc- 
casion of its being founded. A Spaniard by 
descent, and born in the country of St. lago, 
he was taken captive when a boy by the Abi- 
pones, amongst whom he was brought up, and 
became a savage in countenance, language, mind, 
and manners. None of the savages was more 
hostile to the Spaniards than Almaraz, so that 
he became famous for slaughters and plunder- 
ings, and was an Abipon in the eyes of the Abi- 
pones themselves, by whom he was not only na- 
turalized, but honoured in an uncommon degree, 
by receiving in marriage a woman of noble 
family amongst them, who, after bearing hira 
many children, was carried away to St. lago, 
with the other captives taken by Barreda, in his 
assault. In the hope of recovering his wife, 
Almaraz entreated his Gacique, Alaykin, to re- 
quest Barreda to grant a colony for his coun- 
trymen, declaring that this was the surest and 

p3 . 



rsss' 



.^± ' =iSiMi: r 



214 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the only method of procuring the liberty of the 
captives. He offered his services as orator and 
ambassador in the negociation. This advice 
being approved by Alaykin, Almaraz set off un- 
accompanied and unarmed, and after travelling 
more than a hundred leagues, entered the town 
of St. lago. The business succeeded to his 
wish, and Barreda assented with pleasure to 
his petition for a colony. 

Supported by the assistance of the Governor 
of Tucuman, and by repeated conversations 
well acquainted with the inclinations of the 
Cacique Alaykin, he founded a colony on the 
eastern shore of the river Inespin, which is nine 
leagues distant from the Parana, sixty from the 
city of Sta. F^, and a hundred and seventy from 
the land of St. lago. The town was situated on a 
gentle acclivity. The climate was admirably tem- 
perate, neither parched with summer heats, nor 
starving with frost or cold winds. In the neigh- 
bourhood was a river, supplying wholesome 
water, a wide plain abounding in pasture, and 
woods which afforded fruit-trees, fire- wood, and 
timber for building. There was an incredible 
variety of wild animals fit for the chase. All 
kinds of palm-trees grew near at hand. In an 
immense plain, extending towards the south, 
you beheld many thousands of wandering 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



215 



horses ; and the marshes, lakes, and rivers 
abounded in otters and capibaris. The soil 
moreover was extremely fertile, and favourable 
to any kind of seed. These numerous advan- 
tages induced the Cacique Alaykin to choose 
that place for the site of the colony. His com- 
panions too, greatly approved of the situation, 
thinking that the more distant it was from the 
towns of the Spaniards, the better secured it 
must be from their attacks. Rivers frequently 
unfordable, immense swamps, marshes, and 
lakes many miles in extent, incredibly retard the 
journey from St. lago to this colony. 

By Barreda's orders some little chapels and 
cottages for the Fathers and the Cacique were 
hastily built by the soldiers of stakes plastered 
over with mud. The town was committed to 
the care of Fathers Joseph Sanchez, a Murcian, 
and Bartolome Araez, a Tucuman, who was 
succeeded, in a few months, by Lorenzo Casado, 
a native of Castile. The whole colony was go- 
verned by Alaykin, who had been made Cacique, 
not so much from the prerogative of birth, as 
from military merit. He was a man of good 
understanding, a gentle disposition, remarkable 
candour, and universal intrepidity ; orv which 
account he was equally dear to his own people 
and formidable to the Spaniards, whose colonies 

p4 



216 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



he had for many years wearied with his inroads. 
Above all, the countries of Cordoba and St. 
lago found him a destructive and implacable 
enemy. Though a frequent attendant at drink- 
ing-parties, his conduct was exemplary in this 
respect, that he always avoided the quarrels and 
altercations incident to drunkenness. During 
his whole life, he contented himself with one 
wife, by whom he had two daughters and as 
many sons, all remarkable for strength and 
comeliness. The eldest was the unfortunate 
Pachieke, whom I have lately spoken of. The 
Caciques Malakin, Ypirikin, Oaikin, and Zapan- 
cha, with their followers, soon after joined 
Alaykin, so that the new colony was wonderfully 
increased by the accession of so many families. 
These savages were attracted by the expecta- 
tion of the clothes, presents, and beef, which 
was daily distributed gratis to all: and they 
were not deceived in their hopes, as the estate 
of this colony was managed with more care and 
Jiberality than that of any other. For besides 
those cattle which Barreda had collected from 
the opulent Spaniards, the Governor Martinez, 
with money from the yqjb} treasury, purchased 
two thousand bulls out of Peru, and as many 
elsewhere, and sent them thither. This number 
was, in a few years, increased to twenty thou- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



217 



sand head of kine by the industry of Father San- 
chez, though many thousands were consumed 
by the voracity of the Abipones. 

The women returned from captivity amongst 
the. Spaniards caused the Fathers a great deal of 
trouble. From long intercourse with the lower 
orders of Spaniards, with Negroes, and Mulat- 
toes, they had contracted habits execrated even 
by the savages, and imbibed opinions sure to 
produce mischief to the inhabitants of the co- 
lony. Still imbittered by the remembrance of 
their servitude, they left no stone unturned 
to alienate the minds of their countrymen from 
the Spaniards and the priests; to prevent the 
young children and sick adults from receiving 
-baptism ; and to inspire the rest with a horror 
of the divine law, and a reverence for their an- 
cient superstitions. To effect these purposes, 
they used to invent calumnies, spread reports of 
hostile intentions on the part of the Spaniards 
towards the Abipones, and advise flight from 
the colony, in which they sometimes succeeded, 
obtaining the more credit from the Abipones on 
account of their long residence with the Spa- 
niards. The wife of Christopher Almaraz was, 
of all the female captives, by far the greatest 
plague to the colony, as she exceeded the rest 
in high birth, in the propensity to lying, and in 




218 



IIISTOIIY OF THE ABIPONES. 



aversion to the Roman Catholic religion. After 
receiving some superficial religious instruction 
in the city of St. lago, she was united to Alma- 
raz in the church, and v^^ith proper ceremonies, 
but v^as divorced by him on entering the town 
of Concepcion, under pretext of her impiety, 
and his ignorance of the perpetuity of wed- 
lock ; her age, however, was his real objection, 
and when settled amongst his own countrymen 
he aspired to fresh nuptials with a Spanish girl. 
He obtained the permission of the bishop of Tu- 
cuman himself for this marriage, because it was 
proved, by convincing evidence, that his former 
Abiponian spouse was related to another woman 
whom he had married during his residence 
amongst the Abipones. Almaraz, now in pos- 
session of his wishes, exercised the art of me- 
dicine in his own country, with great profit and 
approbation, — I wish I could add, with equal 
benefit to his patients. Who would not laugh 
at the idea of the lower order of Spaniards, 
that whoever has dwelt for some time amongst 
the savages must necessarily have attained the 
knowledge of herbs and secret arts of healing, 
which Galen himself never dreamt of, though 
the whole of his residence amongst them may 
have been employed in slaying and scalping, 
and in drinking. I do not, however, deny 



that some of them, when they returned to their 
own country, became useful to the Governors, 
by successfully performing the offices of scouts 
and guides. They likewise acted as inter- 
preters when a parley was held with the sa- 
vages. 




220 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE FLIGHT OF THE ABIPONES FROM THE TOWN OF 
CONCEPCION AND THEIR RETURN TO IT. 

The new town prospered extremely in the 
beginning and enjoyed entire safety and tran- 
quillity; but this deep calm was succeeded by 
a sudden storm, and dismal wreck. The Abi- 
pones learnt from no dubious report that the 
Spaniards had thoughts of removing the town, 
and placing it in a situation nearer to their own 
city. Accounting this purposed removal ex- 
tremely perilous both to their lives and liberties, 
they began to deliberate on flight, the Fathers 
suspecting nothing of the matter. On the 
very day of their departure, Alaykin informed 
Father Sanchez that himself and his people 
were prepared for the journey, saying that he 
had a reason for his departure, which, however, 
he did not specify. He then demands a flock 
of two thousand sheep; which the Father, 
equally astonished and terrified at this unex- 
pected news, was obliged to grant. They were 
all gone in a moment, leaving behind them only 
three of the most daring Abipones who had 
agreed to slay both the Fathers in the night, to 



m 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 221 

plunder the chapel, and carry away the house- 
hold furniture. But, as I have elsewhere rela- 
ted, Ychoalay arriving the same day delivered 
the Fathers from that state of peril, and assisted 
them in conveying the sacred and domestic 
utensils to the town of St. Jeronymo. Father 
Casado, with the Spaniard who guarded the 
cattle, repaired to Sta. F^, whence couriers 
were sent to Cordoba and St. lagd to announce 
the flight of Alaykin. Great terror was excited 
in both places by this news, no one doubting 
but that the savages would recommence their 
plunderings. On which account, that little 
brick fortress situated in El Tio (a plain so called 
between Cordoba and St. lago) was erected 
in its present form, to repress all hostile in- 
vasions. 

Joseph Sanchez, in the town of St. Jerony- 
mo, eagerly awaited the arrival of Barreda, with 
a troop of St. lagans, in the persuasion that on 
his receiving intelligence of Alaykin's flight he 
would come either to restore the fugitives to 
their colony, or pursue them with arms if they 
refused to return. Many days had passed, when, 
presaging the approach of soldiers from the 
smoke daily observed toward the city of Sta. 
F^, he hastened on horseback to the deserted 
town, accompanied by an Indian Christian. 
On the way he was spied by some wandering 



i!|^«p|-l'| 



•iitk kJ- 7* 



222 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Abipones hidden within a wood, and destined 
by them to death when he arrived in the vacant 
town. As the fleas prevented him from getting 
any sleep in his former bed, he was obliged to 
lie down in the court-yard of the house. The 
Indian servant was his only companion : when 
they were both sound asleep three savages burst 
into the court-yard ; one of them was aiming 
a deadly blow, with a spear, at the Father, 
when he suddenly awoke, snatched up a musket, 
and put the assailant and his two companions 
to flight. He then returned unhurt to the town 
of St. Jeronymo without having seen so much 
as the shadow of a horseman from St. lago. 

At the end of many weeks Barreda arrived 
with some companies of St. lagan horse. 
Having pitched his camp in sight of the deserted 
colony, he sent Landriel with a very few com- 
panions to the horde of Alaykin. Arrived there, 
he proclaims a pardon, in the name of Barreda, 
for their desertion, on condition of their immedi- 
ate return ; he endeavours to persuade them that 
the reports concerning the removal of the colony 
were false and futile; and tells them that Barreda 
is coming laden with gifts to reward the obe- 
dient, but at the same time accompanied with a 
formidable number of soldiers. The Abipones, 
yielding to the eloquence of this benevolent 
man, laid aside their fears, and returned, in 



^w 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



223 



company with Landriel, to their former abode. 
On their return they were not only cordially re- 
ceived, but liberally rewarded with the usual 
presents, by Barreda, whom you would have 
supposed either ignorant or unmindful of their 
late desertion. All good men admired his pru- 
dence in treating the savages, though culpable, 
with gentleness and kindness, like children, 
who, when in error, are more easily induced 
to amendment by toys than by threats or in- 
fliction of punishment. 

Certainly Barreda is to be praised for ab- 
staining from unseasonable rigour, but his be- 
stowing so many caresses on the Abiponian 
chiefs, and promising more than he was able to 
perform, was perhaps worthy of censure. The 
Abipones, relying on this indulgence from the 
Spaniards, whom they imagined afraid of them, 
grew bolder in their attempts than before. Let 
one example serve for all the rest. Barreda, on 
his departure, left in the colony some bales of 
woollen cloth, to pay the Spaniards hired to 
guard the cattle. The Abipones, through the 
artifices of the female captives, were deceived 
into a belief that this cloth was intended for 
their own clothing, and threatened to kill the 
Father if he did not immediately give it up to 
them. As they passed the night in unusual noise 
and drinking, the Father was afraid that when 



224 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



intoxicated they would execute their threat of 
taking away his life ; and to avert this danger 
delivered up, next day, all the cloth in his house 
to the greedy and formidable savages. In a few 
days, at the "command of the Provincial, I re- 
moved from St. Xavier to that colony, accom- 
panied by fifteen hundred Mocobian horsemen. 
Great was my surprize to see a crowd of Abi- 
pones, almost all clothed in garments of the 
same colour, riding out to meet us ; for they 
suspect all comers of hostile intentions, and 
imagine them treacherously inclined. I reached 
the court-yard of our house, surrounded and 
almost overwhelmed by this troop of Abiponian 
horsemen. Father Sanchez came out to meet 
me, and rushed into my embrace. His figure, 
dress, and appearance inspired me first with 
terror, and afterwards with pity. He wore a hat 
made of straw. His gown was dirty, worn, and 
of no colour. His beard was long, thick, and 
blacker than pitch. The affliction of his soul 
appeared in his countenance. ** Were I a cap- 
tive at Algiers, amongst the Moors," said he, 
" my life would be more tolerable than amongst 
these savages by whom you see me surrounded." 
Having entered his chamber, with the crowd of 
Abipones still at my side, I opened my packet 
to deliver the Bishop's letter to the Father, 
when they all thrust their hands into it, and not 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



225 



only examined everything, but would have 
stolen any of my little matters that happened to 
please their fancies, had they not been restrained 
by respect for the by-standers. Shortly after, 
the whole market-place resounded with the 
clangor of war trumpets, the neighing of horses, 
and the shouting of women. On my inquiring 
the cause of this uproar, they replied that the 
savage Mocobios were at hand. At the same 
time the Heavens bellowing with thunder, and 
the approaching shades of night, increased our 
horror. " See!" said the Father to me, " amid 
what daily tumults our lives are passed: to 
these, whether you like it or no, you must be 
enured." A hut, built of stakes plastered over 
with mud, was given me for a habitation, straw 
or hay for a roof, wooden shutters for a win- 
dow, a rough board without a lock for a door, a 
piece of wood scarcely planed for a table, a 
bull's hide suspended on four posts for a bed, 
and the grassy ground, all perforated by ants; 
for a floor. Immense gaps in the walls and roof 
aiforded ready admission to wind, dust, rain^ 
and sun, as well as to serpents, gnats, and toads. 
The decaying palms which supported the roof 
distressed my ears exceedingly with the hiss of 
gnawing worms, and my eyes with the yellow 
dust that fell from them both by day and night. 
Great pieces of plaster, often weighing thirty 



VOL. HI. 



Q 





226 



HISTOUY OF THE ABIPONES. 



pounds, broke all at once from the wall, and 
were more than enough to crush me had they 
touched any part of my body. What shall I 
say of my fare ? Beef, either boiled or roasted, 
was my daily dinner and supper, and if to this 
some maize, or a melon were added, we thought 
we had fared sumptuously; for we had not yet 
time to cultivate our fields or garden, to which 
however, afterwards, we diligently applied our- 
selves. Bread was never even dreamt of. The 
river supplied us with our only beverage, and 
wine could seldom be obtained even for mass. 
This scarcity of all necessaries will not be attri- 
buted to our own improvidence when it is re- 
collected that the city of St. lago, where we 
had to procure everything, was a hundred and 
seventy leagues from our town, that of Sta. F^ 
sixty, and that we were often prevented from 
attempting the journey by the inconvenience 
and danger which marshes and wandering sa- 
vages occasioned. Such was the face of affairs 
for two years in that town, which may be 
called my apprenticeship amongst the savages, 
and the trial of my patience. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



227 



CHAPTER XXV. 

THE VICISSITUDES AND DISTURBANCES OT THE COLONY. 

To civilize the savages, and teach them the or- 
dinances of the holy religion, this was the one 
thing which we had most at heart, and towards 
this all our cares and labours were directed. Yet 
had we often to complain of the fruitlessness of 
our endeavours. The Abipones, whose thoughts 
were continually engaged in attacking or repuls- 
ing their enemies, with the exception of a very 
few, refused to attend to religious instruction, or 
pay us any obedience. Fresh tumults arose 
daily, one proceeding from another. Their an- 
cient ill-will to the savage Mocobios, though it 
seemed forgotten for a while, was again revived 
by fresh and repeated injuries. These savages 
frequently came and carried off droves of horses, 
slaying all they met if any resistance was made. 
A few days before my arrival one of our Abi- 
pones pierced two of the plunderers with a 
spear. Not long after, a great number of Mo- 
cobios, to revenge the deaths of these men, 
carried off an immense drove of horses from the 
remoter pastures of our colony, by night, and 
without being perceived by any one. Whilst 

q2 




228 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



hastening homewards in possession of their 
booty, and anticipating no attack, they were 
observed in crossing a wood, by our Abipones 
who had passed the night there to gather the 
alfaroba, and who suddenly fell upon them, 
slew some, wounded others, and put the rest to 
flight. 

The MocobioSj by no means disheartened at 
this bad fortune, repeated their assaults, some- 
times in troops, sometimes in small parties. On 
St. Joseph's day a numerous band of Mocobios 
concealed themselves in a neighbouring wood 
about evening. But this ambuscade was dis- 
covered by one of the Abipones, and destroyed 
by the rest, who rushed upon them in one com-, 
pany. For nearly two hours the whole plain 
trembled beneath the flying Mocobios and pur- 
suing Abipones, whilst the air resounded with 
military trumpets. The women and children 
concealed themselves meantime within the in- 
closure of our court-yard, whilst I kept watch 
at the entrance of it. The shades of night, and 
the raging of a stormy south wind, created in- 
expressible horror. As nothing could be seen 
amid such profound darkness, I laid hold of my, 
musket on perceiving a horseman softly ap-, 
proaching the door. From his voice, however, 
I discovered it to be Alaykin, who had sepa-, 
rated himself from the rest, and was riding 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



229 



about to take a survey, and see whether any 
timbuscade were lurking thereabouts. At length 
the war trumpets ceased, and from the deep 
silence of the whole plain I felt convinced that 
the Mocobios were driven to a very great dis- 
tance. I therefore retired into my den to sleep: 
but before I had reached the bed a fresh tumult 
of horsemen and trumpets was heard in the 
market-place, accompanied with confused shouts 
and such a doleful lamentation of the women 
that I almost thought the savages were cutting 
their throats. 1 instantly snatched up my arms 
and ran to the place. The enemies, who wished 
in their hasty flight to return towards the north, 
deceived by the darkness, went southward, and 
were driven into the market-place by a troop 
of Abipones. Amid such clamouring both of 
the pursuers and of the pursued, I do not know 
whether one drop of blood was shed by these 
heroes. This I know, that I spent a sleepless 
night, watching at the door of the court-yard 
for the protection of the old women ; as my 
companion, who should have relieved me in my 
office of watchman, was tormented with a vio- 
lent tooth-ache. 

That, too, was a memorable day when a fresh 
incursion of the Mocobios was averted by the 
craftiness of our Abipones. These savages were 
discovered meditating an assault upon the town 

Q, 3 





230 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



in a neighbouring field. Our Abipones were 
all absent, except seven, which caused the 
Cacique Alaykin great anxiety. Hamihegem- 
kin, a little, but very brave man, exclaimed, 
" Since men and strength are wanting, we must 
fight with cunning to-day." Forthwith he puts 
on a Spanish dress, and accompanied with six 
others approaches the Mocobios, who, sus- 
pecting that the St. lagan soldiers were lying 
in wait for them, preferred flight to combat. 

At length, perceiving that these petty excur- 
sions, performed by detached parties, were 
fruitless, and even prejudicial to themselves, 
the Mocobios determined to assault our town 
with their whole force. They formed a warlike 
alliance with the Tobas, Lenguas, Mataguayos, 
Malbalaes, Yapitalakas, and Vilelas. Out of so 
many nations a vast number of savages was as- 
sembled, who, relying on the multitude of their 
confederates, and the excellence of their leaders, 
thought themselves hastening to victories, and 
rich spoils of all sorts of cattle, rather than to a 
contested fight. Two or three times indeed 
they began the journey, but were obliged to re- 
turn and abandon their undertaking, at one 
time by a drought and consequent scarcity of 
water, at another by a heavy flood, and once 
by their horses, which were completely knocked 
up by the heat of the sun. Although the ene- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



231 



mies were not able to reach our town, yet a 
rumour which spread amongst us respecting 
their numbers, and the journey they had com- 
menced, disturbed our minds almost more than 
their actual presence would have done. Esteem- 
ing themselves unable to cope with such a 
mighty force, numbers withdrew from the co- 
lony, under pretext of a desire to hunt; and the 
few who remained, having their apprehensions, 
and their actual danger augmented by the num- 
ber of seceders, were constantly filling our ears 
with reports of the enemy's approach, so that 
we were obliged to be perpetually on the watch 
to prevent the possibility of a surprize. To 
this constant war with foreign foes was added 
an intestine one between the two Abiponian 
nations, whose inveterate enmities were ex- 
tremely detrimental to the progress of the new 
colony. 

About this time continual tumults were 
created in the neighbouring town of St. Jero- 
nymo by Debayakaikin, who, as I have related, 
was always either threatening or assaulting. 
Ychoalay, believing our Alaykin to be amicably 
inclined towards that Cacique, and privy to his 
machinations to the hurt of the Riikah^s, enter- 
tained an implacable hatred towards him on 
that account, and left nothing unattempted 
which might cause trouble to his hordesmen. 

q4 





232 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOXES. 



It is best to trace these feuds and disturbances 
to their very origin. For full fifteen months 
after their settling in the colony of Concepcion 
our Abipones refrained from annoying the Spa- 
niards in any way, and faithfully preserved the 
peace established between them. One horse 
was the destruction of Troy ; it was likewise 
the cause of mischief to this colony. One of 
the Spaniards, who brought us the two thousand 
cows purchased by the Governor of Tucuman 
from the estates of Sta. Fe, secretly carried off 
a very excellent horse. This was heavily com- 
plained of by the owner, who, to indemnify 
himself for the loss, stole fourteen choice horses, 
by night, from some estate belonging to Sta. 
Fe. The affair being discovered, Ychoalay, 
who always kept two spies in our town, came 
with the Spaniard to whom those horses be- 
longed, and brought them home again in spite 
of the Abipones. This recovery, effected not 
without mutual threats and injuries, excited our 
Abipones to renew their former acts of rapine. 

Troops of the younger Abipones, to show 
that Ychoalay, though supported by the Spa- 
niards, was no object of fear to them, used to 
break into the estates of Sta. Fe, for the pur- 
pose of carrying off horses, the Abipones, their 
superiors in age and station, not daring to ob- 
ject, and we Jesuits being kept in ignorance of 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



233 



the fact, or vainly inveighing against it. Ychoa- 
lay, provoked at hearing of the horses which 
our pillagers had taken, flew alone and unarmed 
to our colony, where he held forth to the inha- 
bitants, from the horse on which he sat, about 
instantly restoring the horses of the Spaniards. 
But he was scoffed at by many of the by- 
standers, and called a rogue and a knave by 
Alaykin, whose son Pachiek^, the chief of the 
plunderers, challenged him to single combat by 
aiming at him with an arrow, to which Ychoa- 
lay, scorning so youthful an adversary, bared 
his breast. Provoked by these insults he be- 
took himself to my house, saying, " Your people 
will not listen to me ; what I cannot obtain by 
words, I will extort by arms. If they do not 
restore the horses forthwith, I shall return in 
three days, and insist upon a battle, and I now 
hasten home to collect as many soldiers as pos- 
sible." After passing the night with us, he re- 
turned in great anger to his colony. All our 
endeavours to pacify and divert him from his 
purpose were vain ; our Abipones too withstood 
our entreaties, choosing to endure the worst 
rather than restore the horses they had plun- 
dered. My companion, presaging all sorts of 
disasters, whatever were the event of this com- 
bat, took a journey to the town of St. Jeronymo 
for the purpose of appeasing Ychoalay's mind. 




234 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



which, however, he would have failed to effect, 
had not Chitalin, Cacique of the Mocobios then 
acting as guards in the town of St. Jeronymo, 
for fear of Debayakaikin, inspired Ychoalay 
with milder sentiments. But as the hatred 
existing between these tribes was only laid 
asleep for a time, not extinguished, that short- 
lived calm was the forerunner of dreadful tem- 
pests, one following hard upon another. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



235 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



MY JOURNEY TO ST. lAGO ON BUSINESS PERTAINING TO 

THE COLONY. 

Affairs were in such a state that both colo- 
nies seemed on the verge of destruction, as well 
from mutual enmity, as from the persecutions 
of foreign foes. " One of us," said Father 
Sanchez, *' must go to St. lago to inform the 
Governor of Tucuman, or his deputy Barreda, 
of our present jeopardy, and ask his advice on 
the subject. This journey, of an hundred and 
seventy leagues, amid vast wildernesses, where 
you can scarce discover a vestige of mankind, 
except wandering savages, who sally forth to 
plunder, is, as you are well aware, full both of 
peril and inconvenience." Unterrified by this 
representation, I preferred going to the city, as 
a messenger, to remaining as a guard in the 
endangered town, foreseeing that, should it be 
destroyed in my companion's absence, the 
whole blame would be laid on me by the 
Spaniards. I entered upon this difficult jour- 
ney accompanied by three Indians, who, though 
converted to Christianity, were more uncivi- 
lized than any of the savages. To these was 



i ajafcjT j A * " ■ 



236 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



fl;ii U'.''K-:]1.4 



added a Mulatto, who had been kept in chains 
at Sta. F^, for stealing ten thousand Spanish 
crowns from a waggon conveying Peruvian 
money to the merchants; but escaping from 
prison was ordered, by the Corregidor, to 
preside over the guards of the cattle, by way of 
atoning for his crime. Thus a man convicted 
of theft, and escaped from prison, was my 
companion on the way. Oh ! what a noble 
guard, and attendant! Yet his services were 
both necessary and useful to me. That part 
of the country which we had to cross was, in 
great part, covered with lakes and marshes over- 
grown with reeds and bulrushes, and swelled 
to such a degree by continual rain, that our 
horses could scarcely ford them ; the deep 
holes, and ant-hills, too, hidden under the 
water, caused us to stumble perpetually. 
The rest of the plain country was deluged with 
water, and scarcely afforded a turf where we 
might lie down at night, or our horses take 
pasture. For the first three days of our jour- 
ney, we were persecuted, day and night, 
by unceasing rain and thunder. Our clothes, 
our bodies, even the breviary, in short what- 
ever we made use of, were dripping with 
water. Our provision, which consisted of 
beef alone, was continually moistened till it 
swarmed with worms ; the weather at last 



^i" 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



237 



becoming tranquil, we tied it to a rope and 
hung it out to dry, but the stench of it was 
intolerable even at a distance : nevertheless, as 
no other food was to be procured in that vast 
solitude, we were obliged to allay our hunger 
with this putrid meat, that we might not 
absolutely die of want. My Indian companions 
caudit an immense fish in the river Salado, but 
they devoured it all themselves, and would not 
give me a morsel, though I was labouring 
under the extremity of hunger. By many days' 
rain, rivers, not otherwise very large, were, 
swelled above their banks, and rendered a 
passage not only difficult but even dangerous. 
Moreover, the hide we used to cross rivers with 
was softened to such a degree that it could not 
be used, unless stuffed out with boughs on^ 
every side. Our having escaped the eyes of 
the savages who infested those places we con-, 
sidered a very wonderful, as well as fortunate^ 
circumstance; for though we observed here and 
there the fresh footmarks both of themselves 
and their horses, we were never discovered by 

them. 

The horses, of which we took a great num- 
ber, on account of the length of the journey, 
were so much fatigued with swimming and 
fasting, as to be scarce able to bear their sad- 
dles. Their hoofs, too, were softened by the 



238 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



water, which greatly impeded their progress. 
I must own that I was exceedingly fatigued 
myself with sitting on horseback such a length 
of time, in rainy weather ; for it is very un- 
pleasant to have one's clothes wet both day and 
night, so that they cling to the skin. My com- 
panions used to take off all their clothes, and 
remain naked till they were dried by the air, or 
the fire; but I could not have followed their 
example without violating the laws of decency. 
My strength moreover was greatly exhausted 
by fasting so many days : for I could never eat 
more than a few mouthfuls of the stinking meat, 
though destitute of any other provision. On 
the thirteenth day of our journey, impelled by 
hunger, I rushed into a solitary cottage which 
met my eyes, and though nothing was to be 
found there but a melon and three heads of 
maize, this scanty meal seemed quite to restore 
my exhausted strength. 

After having spent sixteen days on the road, 
we at last came in sight of St. lago, but were 
prevented from entering it by the river Dulce, 
which had been increased to such a width by 
an unusually violent flood, that it was become 
formidable to the most dexterous swimmers. 
Its course was so rapid as to bear down vast 
trunks of trees, and cottages torn from the 
banks, which, had they encountered the hide 



'■ f 



on which we were sailing, would have over- 
turned, or torn it to pieces. My crossing this 
sea in safety, I owe to Barreda, who, on being 
informed of my arrival on the opposite shore, 
sent two famous swimmers from the city to 
carry me over. 





240 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



MY STAY AT THE CITY OF ST. lAGO. THE VISIT OF OUR 
CACIQUE, ALAYKIN, TO THE GOVERNOR OF SALTA. 

After the customary salutations on both sides, 
I made my excellent friend Barreda acquainted 
with the state of the colony. We held con- 
tinual consultations on the speediest remedies. 
In a few days a courier was dispatched with 
letters to Martinez, Governor of Tucuman, at 
Salta, whence the Governor sent another to 
Xexui, where the keepers of the royal treasury 
reside. In the meantime, I was obliged to re- 
main at St. lago, where I was by no means 
unemployed. Besides attending to the busi- 
ness of the colony, I was almost daily occupied 
in confessing Spanish and Negro penitents, who 
flocked to me from all quarters, as being a 
stranger, and likely soon to leave the city. 
The Governor Martinez had often and earnestly 
requested that Alaykin, and the other Abi- 
ponian Caciques, might be sent to visit him at 
Salta, as he was in hopes of being able to con- 
ciliate them by fair words, handsome enter- 
tainment, and liberal gifts : but the savages are 
of a suspicious and fearful temper, and always 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



241 



apprehend treachery and deceit in the friendship 
of the Spaniards. Alaykin, though often in- 
vited, had uniformly declined going : now, in- 
duced by what reasons I do not know, he sud- 
denly arrived, whilst I was at St. lago, with 
two of the more reputable Abipones, and after 
resting three days in that city, pursued his 
journey to Salta. The provident Barreda sent 
two Spaniards with him, one to act as guide, 
the other as interpreter, and both as defenders 
against assailants. This journey was little ap- 
proved either by Barreda or myself; because 
we foresaw that should any one of the Abi- 
pones perish amongst those rocks, either from the 
unwonted cold of a foreign clime ; or from ter- 
tian ague, which is very common there, on ac- 
count of the unwholesome water ; or from any 
other cause; the whole Abiponian nation would 
undoubtedly attribute it to the malignant arts of 
the Spaniards, and this suspicion would be the 
origin of an immediate war. The first day that the 
Abipones spent at St. lago they were very near 
conceiving suspicions injurious to the Spaniards. 
At that time the yearly rite was solemnized of 
carrying about the holy wafer, some praying 
with a loud voice, some singing, and others 
dancing, to imitate David when he leapt before 
the ark of the covenant. To testify the public 
joy, very small muskets were fired up and down 

VOL. III. R 



-^ g ;>TS> ' x.v ./ 



242 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the streets. The Abipones, as yet ignorant of 
these ceremonies, would have sworn that the 
Spaniards were saluting them with gunpowder, 
had I not made them sensible of their error. 
At the time when the procession is passing 
through the streets, men dressed in a ridiculous 
costume like merry-andrews, and called by the 
Paraguayrians Cachidiablos, run about, and strike 
the common people with a whip, if they tres- 
pass upon silence or religious decorum. Sup- 
pose one of the Abipones, whilst walking about 
unarmed, had received a single blow from these 
foolish harlequins, when would they have ceased 
complaining of the injury done them by the Spa- 
niards ? What an argument would it have been 
for breaking terms with them, and renewing 
the war ? It may be generally observed, that 
the savages, however friendly to the Spaniards, 
can never sojourn long in their towns without' 
endangering this amicable disposition. They 
imagine injuries though they do not receive 
any, and are often offended at a shadow. 

Reflecting upon these things, I would not 
be persuaded by Barreda to accompany the 
Abipones who were going to Salta, represent- 
ing that if the Governor reproached them with 
faults of which he might have been informed by 
Father Sanchez, they would suspect me of 
having been their accuser, and pronounce me 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOTSTES. 



243 



deserving of the eternal hatred of the whole na- 
tion. Alaykin was sumptuously entertained, 
and clothed by the Governor at great expense, 
but with little profit ; for on his return, when 
he displayed his splendid dress of valuable 
scarlet cloth, and boasted of all the honours 
heaped upon him by the Governor, " Seel" 
said they, " how we are feared by the Spa- 
niards !" Thus acts of liberality and kindness 
were foolishly construed into testimonies of fear. 
The lower orders of Spaniards, too, were angry 
at beholding Alaykin bedecked in a beautiful 
Spanish robe, "Look!" they exclaimed, *'this 
is the reward which a fellow who has merited 
the gallows an hundred times over, obtains for 
plundering and burning our property." Alay- 
kin himself, however, was so little taken with 
the splendor of this Spanish dress, that he let 
it lie and mildew in the chest, never appearing 
in the town with it but once, and then, without 
shirt, shoes, or breeches, he was rather an object 
of laughter than of admiration. 

It is worthy of remark, that at the very time 
when Alaykin was entertained in so friendly a 
manner by the Spaniards, some Abipones broke 
into the estates of the Cordobans to carry off 
horses, but were put to flight by a soldier. One 
of the fugitives, a hordesman of Alaykin, was 
taken, and detained in prison at Cordoba; but 

r2 




244 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



at the earnest request of Barreda and myself 
was suffered to return home, lest the savages 
should avenge his captivity by the blood of the 
Spaniards. About the same time it w^as an- 
nounced that a company of Abipones had at- 
tacked the St. lagans in the Silvas del Hierro, 
as I have related elsewhere. Although this in- 
cursion had been headed by Oaherkaikin, it was 
attributed to the fellow-soldiers of Alaykin by 
ill-natured people, who wished to get our co- 
lony and its founder Barreda into disrepute. 
But this fable was afterwards detected by means 
of the captives, who, when restored to liberty, 
declared that their comrades were slain, and 
themselves made prisoners by the hordesmen of 
Debayakaikin. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



245 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

MY DISASTROUS RETURN TO OUR COLONY. 

Having settled affairs to the best of my power, 
I was provided by Barreda, on my departure, 
with forty soldiers, who were to act as guards 
in the colony, and to assist and instruct the In- 
dians in cultivating land ; but, at the end of a 
month, were to be succeeded by others for the 
same length of time. The soldiers said they 
would wait for me at a plain thirty leagues from 
St. lago; but, on arriving, I only found nine 
there, and, as the captain affirmed that no 
more were ordered to attend me, I thought it 
best to begin the journey with these few. In a 
very short time, however, I had to retrace my 
steps, for the soldiers, alarmed at their weakness, 
were in constant apprehension of meeting armies 
of savages, bearing bloodshed and slaughter 
along with them . Every step that brought them 
nearer to the retreats of the savages increased 
their terror. Seeing smoke at a distance, they 
entertained no doubt of its being the indication 
of an ambuscade. Things were in such a state 
that they obstinately refused to proceed ; they 
did indeed return a little way, and could hardly 

R 3 




246 



PIISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



be recalled by the eloquence of their captain. 
The same day we chose a situation to pass the 
night in, which the nature of the place defended 
from sudden attacks, the river Salado, with its 
steep bank, being in front, and a rugged wood 
behind. But about sun-set, just when the horses 
were let loose to pasture, and we ourselves 
seated at the fire, our ears were assaulted by 
a sudden howling of the savages from the wood, 
which, to the cowardly soldiers, was the signal 
for flight, not for a battle. Without delay 
every one catches his horse, and gets it ready. 
I represented to them that if they quitted their 
station the Indians might easily slay them 
whilst dispersed, but that if they remained 
united in one company, I saw nothing so very 
dreadful to be apprehended, as we had muskets 
in readiness, and the savages would attempt 
nothing that night if they smelt gunpowder. 
By this speech I prevailed upon them to remain 
quietly where they were, but at every motion 
the savages made they flew to their horses, 
which they had ready saddled ; so great was 
their trepidation. One of the soldiers, a fat, 
but very handsome man, dissolved into tears, 
dolefully exclaiming every minute, " Then we 
must die this night !" For myself, I freely con- 
fess that the fears of my companions caused me 
more alarm than the threats of the savages. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



247 



That I might not, therefore, remain alone and on 
foot in this vast desert, in case my companions 
should fly and leave me, I ordered the swiftest 
of my horses to be caught and harnessed, that I 
might accompany the rest as far as possible. 
Fatigued and drowsy, I slept greatest part of the 
night on the bare turf at my horse's feet, holding 
the reins and a musket in my hand. 

As soon as morning dawned, whilst the sand 
on the shores of the river bore visible marks of 
the feet of the Indians, the soldiers, disregard- 
ing the commands of their captain, returned 
home full speed, and obliged me to follow them, 
unless I preferred perishing in a perilous wild, 
full a hundred leagues in extent. I had ninety- 
four leagues to return, for to such a distance 
from the city had we travelled. The soldiers, 
to shorten the way, passed through the trackless, 
woods of Turugon, and through marshy fields, till 
they arrived, with me, at their native place, Sa- 
labina. The priest of the village, Clement Xerez 
de Calderon, embraced me with the utmost cor- 
diality, and consoled me when I complained of 
the return of the runaway soldiers. " You are 
come to this town," said he, *' by divine dispen- 
sation, to pronounce a panegyric on the Holy 
Mother :" for the Carmelite feast was at hand, 
which is annually celebrated in that place for 
nine successive days. Numbers of all ranks 

r4 



m 




m^m^ -.Ji.v » _--r.ir.-«*.-.-f#T . 



248 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



assemble there out of the whole province, and 
as the place is too small to contain so many thou- 
sands of strangers, most of them are obliged to 
pass the night out of doors amongst the bushes, 
whilst the better sort are entertained by the 
priest. The church, though small, was fur- 
nished with very precious sacred utensils, and 
ornamented with more silver than is commonly 
seen in European churches, most part of which 
the priest had inherited from a Peruvian canon, 
a relation of his. In this church then I pro- 
nounced a panegyric of an hour's length to a very 
numerous audience; amongst the rest, theVice- 
Governor and all the chief people of the city were 
present, by whom, at the end of the discourse, I 
was honourably conducted, amid the noise of 
fireworks and small cannons, to the priest's house, 
where, according to custom, brandy and to- 
bacco-pipes were liberally distributed amongst 
the crowd of Spanish horse. During the twelve 
days of my unwelcome detention in this place, 
I devoted the whole of my time which was not 
spent in short slumbers, meals, and the per- 
formance of divine service, to absolving peni- 
tents, who attended me in the open plain near 
the church. Meantime, at Barreda's command, 
forty soldiers were called out to accompany me 
on my second return, and were ordered to as- 
semble in a field some leagues distant from Sa- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



249 



labina. In this place, I and a few others re- 
mained three days in the open air, amid conti- 
nual frost, and in danger of being devoured by 
tigers, vainly av^aiting the rest of the soldiers; 
for after all there arrived no more than five-and- 
twenty, one of whom deserted the first night, 
carrying off with him some of the captain's 
horses. Having swam across the river Turu- 
g6n, we entered Chaco ; and that we might have 
no sudden attack to fear from the savages who 
abide there, seven scouts were sent forward by 
day, and returned at night to make their report 
to the captain. These scouts discovered a party 
of Tobas and Mocobios, who, in flying to their 
lurking-holes with a herd of horses taken from 
the estates of Sta. F^, set fire to all the woods 
and plains through which they passed, that their 
countrymen might be pre-informed of their re- 
turn by means of the smoke. That night we 
passed without sleep : for the flames, which ap- 
proached us before, behind, and on both sides, 
appeared to threaten us with destruction ; and, 
although we escaped this, we were all very nearly 
blinded and suff'ocated by the smoke. A wind 
arising the next morning, averted the fire and the 
danger from us. Conflagrations of this kind are 
very frequent in the immense plains of Para- 
guay, and often prove destructive to travellers, 



250 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



beasts, and cattle. In this case, as in many- 
others, to escape being burnt alive, we were 
obliged to leap upon our horses without having 
time to harness them properly, and to gallop 
right through the flames, which it was impos- 
sible either to extinguish or to avoid. The fire 
which is kindled by travellers at night, or noon, 
and which they often neglect to extinguish on 
their departure, spreads, if a strong wind arise, 
and sets the whole plain on fire. The tall 
dry grass, reeds, and bulrushes, extended like a 
crop of corn on every side, afford combustible ma- 
terials to feed the flame for many weeks : the 
woods too, which, being burnt by the sun's heat 
during the greatest part of the year, abound in 
pitch and gum, are easily set on fire, and with dif- 
ficulty extinguished. The smoke often fills the 
air with such impenetrable darkness, that the sun 
is hid, and night brought back at mid-day. I 
myself have seen clouds and lightning suddenly 
proceed from this smoke, as it is flying off like 
a whirlwind; so that the Indians are not to 
be blamed for setting fire to the plains, in order 
to procure rain, they having learnt that the 
thicker smoke turns into clouds which pour 
forth water. Burning the plains, however, is 
not always a certain method of procuring rain, 
without the co-operation of other causes : for. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



251 



during a two-years' drought which we endured, 
the fields and groves blazed up and down the 
country for months, and yet the fire never 
yielded us any water ; this caused Father Brig- 
niel to think that these frequent conflagrations 
dried up the vapours of the earth, which at 
other times ascend to the sky and coalesce, first 
into clouds, and afterwards into showers. But 
from my own observation, I can tell that con- 
densed smoke, not very far removed from fire, 
is converted into clouds, and sends forth thun- 
der and lightning. This matter I leave to the 
discussion of natural philosophers, and pro- 
ceed in the relation of my journey with the St. 
lagans. 

I must not be silent upon a circumstance, 
which was at first a subject of alarm, and afterT 
wards of hearty laughter to us. A number of 
Abipones employed in drying otter-skins were 
concealed, together with their families, in a 
field shaded by a little wood. Suspecting a 
hostile attack, as they perceived us passing by, 
at day -break, they began to utter their usual 
yells. The St. lagans,, on the other hand, 
amazed at this sudden vociferation, imagined 
that the savages were lying in wait for them, so 
that a great consternation was excited on both 
sides. I soon began to suspect the truth of the 



..|iif- 



252 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



matter, and mentioned my surmise to the captain ; 
on which he ordered a drove of our horses to be 
placed in the midst of the company, lest they 
should be carried off by the Indians. A more 
active steed being substituted for the one on which 
I was riding, he ordered two soldiers to accom- 
pany me, with whom I was to go forward, and 
if any Indian appeared in sight, to observe, and 
accost him: for no one but myself understood the 
language either of the Abipones or Mocobios. 
I requested the captain to follow me at a dis- 
tance, slowly, and without a noise, that he 
might be at hand to give me aid, if it were 
needed, with which, being a good-natured man, 
he was very ready to comply. After having 
gone a little way, I met an Abiponian horseman 
quietly coming to reconnoitre us, and on his 
nearer approach perceived him to be an inhabi- 
tant of our town; upon which I acquainted him 
with the cause of my journey, with the small 
number and amicable dispositions of my com- 
panions, afterwards inquiring after the health of 
Father Sanchez and Alaykin, and other things 
of that kind. The Abipon, relieved from his 
suspicions, informed me that he and his compa- 
nions were employed in seeking honey in the 
neighbouring woods, and in hunting otters in 
the lakes, and courteously invited us to visit his 



countrymen. Four soldiers were sent by the 
captain to ascertain the truth of this represen- 
tation, and they quickly returned laden by the 
Abipones with abundance of honey: but the 
mutual delivery from fear of an hostile attack 
was sweeter far than any honey. 





254 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



THE PERPETUAL DISTURBANCES OF THE TOWN OF CON- 

CEPCION. 

After an absence of five months spent at St. 
lago, and in my journeys thither and back, I was 
received by the people with great demonstra- 
tions of affection; and their joy was increased 
by the liberal presents which I made them of 
scissars, glass-beads, and other things of that 
description. But the affairs of the town re- 
mained in the same state as before : and there 
seemed to be no hope of procuring tranquillity. 
The Mocobios and their allies were always full 
of menace, often committed actual mischief. 
The elder Abipones, though they refrained from 
molesting the Spaniards, pertinaciously indulged 
in their usual drinking-bouts ; but the younger 
part could not be induced to remain quietly at 
home, delighting to wander up and down, and 
commit depredations. The old women, obsti- 
nately adhering to their ancient superstitions, 
were not only averse to our religion themselves, 
but endeavoured to inspire others with the same 
dislike of it. No one would enter the church 
unless induced by the hope of reward, and very 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



255 



few would attend to the sacred instructions at 
niid-day. Almost all were engaged in pursuits 
and studies of a different nature. Military ex- 
peditions were undertaken one after another. 

Alaykin, to testify his fidelity to the Spa- 
niards, and to clear himself from some suspi- 
cions that were entertained against him, went 
out against Oaherkaikin, and by threats or pro- 
mises obliged him to give up the captives taken 
in the woods where Lisondo and the other St. 
lagans had been lately slain. After a sort of 
friendship had been simulated, rather than con- 
tracted between Ychoalay and Alaykin, our 
townsmen went to assist the Abipones of St. 
Jeronymo in two expeditions against Debaya- 
kaikin, from which, however, they derived more 
loss than advantage. A warlike alliance did 
indeed subsist for a short time between the in- 
habitants of the two towns, but never any con- 
cord in their hearts; for our Abipones, ex- 
tremely well disposed towards the Nakaike- 
tergehes, never thought of desiring that victory 
might declare in favour of Ychoalay, whom they 
hated, because he endeavoured to prevent them 
from taking the horses of the Spaniards, and 
often restored them, when taken, to their owners 
by force ; enraged at which, they employed 
double craft and industry in their depredations, 
not so much to indemnify themselves for their 



256 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



former loss, as to signify how little heed they 
took of Ychoalay. This was a source of alter- 
cations, and subject of anxiety which pressed 
upon us day and night. Captain Miguel Zi- 
burro, Piedra Buena, and other owners of 
estates from Sta. F^, came to St. Jeronymo with 
a small troop of horse, to claim Ychoalay 's as- 
sistance in recovering some horses stolen from 
them by the Indians. Ychoalay knew the pas- 
tures where the recently plundered horses had 
been concealed, and thither he came by night 
to recover them with a troop of Spaniards and 
E.iikah6s; but he was disappointed in his hopes. 
For our Abipones, receiving timely intelligence 
of Ychoalay's intentions, concealed all the horses 
they possessed in remote lurking-holes across 
the river, except some lean, old, and lame crea- 
tures, covered with worms and ulcers, which 
they left in the market-place, to make game of 
Ychoalay, who, not finding the horses he sought, 
resolved to attack the plunderers of them. A 
little before day-break, spying a crowd of our 
Abipones swiftly bearing down upon his party, 
he screened himself behind some cottages, and 
cunningly affirmed that the Spaniards were not 
come to slay the inhabitants of the town, but to 
confer with them. On hearing this, our Abi- , 
pones bent their spears to the ground, and 
quietly granted a truce. A Spanish captain, of 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES 



257 



advanced age and intrepid spirit, spoke for some 
time with Alaykin, by means of an interpreter, 
in our apartment. " Have you, then, chosen 
this situation for your colony/' said he^ " that 
you may plunder herds of horses from our es- 
tates at your pleasure ?" " No accusation of 
this nature can be preferred against me," re- 
plied the Cacique; " when we were at war 
with each other I returned like for like, and re- 
pelled force by force ; but since the establish- 
ment of the peace, I have carefully spared both 
yourselves and your properties." " We allow 
that you have never done us any injury," re- 
joined the Captain, '' but your son Pachieke is 
the head of the plunderers." *' That is your 
own faults," replied Alaykin; " the sanctioned 
peace was religiously observed by my country- 
men till it was violated by a soldier of yoursj 
who robbed them of an excellent horse. Inci ted 
by his example, my people began to think of 
taking horses from you, which they knew to be 
badly guarded." To this the Captain answered, 
*' But it was your business to have restrained 
the rapacity of your hordesmen." "■ In truth," 
replied the Cacique, smiling, " that is easier 
said than done. These young men tell me they 
are going to hunt wild horses, instead of which 
they carry off the tame ones from your estates, 
without my knowledge or consent. You ought 

VOL. III. s 



258 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



to have guarded your estates to prevent thieves 
from approachiDg them; for it is not in my 
power to keep watch over plains of such vast 
extent, and to have an eye upon the feet and 
hands of my countrymen in all their journeys. 
Let soldiers be hired to scour the roads ; ,and if 
they find any countryman of mine guilty of 
plundering horses, let them, with my free leave, 
commit him to prison, and punish him with 
plenty of stripes. Alarmed at such vigilance 
and severity on the part of the Spaniards, our 
youths will abandon their practice of stealing." 
" It is well," replied the Spaniard, *' your ad- 
vice shall be followed ; but, in the mean time, let 
all the horses that have been taken from us be 
immediately restored." " For my particular," 
said Alaykin, " I have not a single horse of 
yours in my possession ; as for the rest, do you 
yourself command them to make restitution, 
and let them do so if they will, for I have not 
sufficient authority to insist upon its being done. 
Were I to use commands or force towards my 
people, they would immediately desert me. Go, 
therefore, and endeavour to regain your horses 
by arms, which you will hardly do by words ; 
my hordesmen are standing in the market-place, 
prepared for a battle." The Captain heard Alay- 
kin make this declaration without alarm, and 
would have joined battle forthwith, had not two 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



259 



noble Spaniards, neither of whom belonged to 
the army, and who were terrified at the appear- 
ance of the Abipones, persuaded him to silence, 
peace, and speedy departure. Refusing an in- 
vitation to dinner, the whole party returned 
without delay to St. Jeronymo, along with 
Ychoalay, who afterwards told me he should 
never have brought the Spaniards, had he been 
aware that Alaykin s soldiers were so numerous. 
Our Abipones, emboldened by the hurried re- 
turn of the Spaniards, made no hesitation in 
sending one of their people to watch them, and 
exhort them to hasten their journey, lest, if they 
tarried on the way, they should be pursued by 
the rest of the townsmen. Whilst the Spaniards 
were still on their road, a tempest arose, with 
rain, thunder, and lightning ; meantime, our 
Abipones were celebrating this bloodless vic- 
tory with songs and drinking, highly elated at 
the idea of having baffled Ychoalay, and caused 
him to come labour in vain. 

This unseasonable visit of the Spaniards had 
well nigh proved the destruction of my compa- 
nion and myself; the Indians, persuaded that 
we had acted in collusion with them, cruelly 
persecuting us as traitors and enemies. Not 
one of them would enter our house or the 
church ; not one v/ould deigq to hold any con- 
versation with us : so that we doubted not but 

• s2 



260 



HISTORY OF THE ABTPONES. 



that our lives were in danger ; yet the suspi- 
cion entertained by the Indians was totally 
groundless, as the journey, and the machina- 
tions of the Spaniards had never been revealed 
to us even in a dream. On the night that suc- 
ceeded their departure, as I was mending my 
torn shoes, the only pair I possessed, to defend 
my feet from the rain which was plainly por- 
tended by the appearance of the sky, a sudden 
noise induced me to leave my hut, when I saw a 
great number of our Abipones riding about the 
market-place, with their faces painted, and with 
spears in their hands ; at which I was much sur- 
prized, not knowing who or where the enemy 
was. But looking round on all sides, I at 
length espied the Spaniards, with Ychoalay's 
Abipones, approaching the town, and imme- 
diately awakened Father Sanchez, who was 
dreaming of no such matter. 

It was openly reported that Ychoalay, en- 
raged that the event of this expedition had proved 
so contrary to his desires and expectations, 
was directing his whole attention, in con- 
junction with the Spaniards, tov^ards totally 
destroying our colony ; on hearing which, our 
Abipones withdrew from the town, and hastened 
by crowds to their known retreats. What were 
our feelings on perceiving this ? We wrote to 
inform Barreda of the matter, and in the mean 



262 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

THE ARRIVAL OF BARREDA, AND THE REMOVAL OF THE 
TOWN TO THE BANKS OF THE SALADO. 

Barreda groaned on receiving intelligence of 
the approaching ruin of the town; he knew 
how much trouble the Abipones had caused 
the Spaniards, whilst at enmity with them, and 
therefore thought every exertion should be 
made to preserve a friendship which was so 
necessary to the whole province. Without 
delay, he set off, with four hundred horsemen, 
in the intention of removing the town from the 
neighbourhood of Ychoalay, and Sta. F^, into 
the territory of St. lago. The journey was an 
exceedingly arduous one ; for in the first part 
of it not a drop of water could be found, often 
for the space of twenty leagues, the lakes and 
rivers beirig exhausted by a long drought ; and 
towards the latter end, the country was flooded 
by unceasing rains, to such a degree, that they 
were obliged to ride through water by day, and 
to lie down in it at night, when overcome by 
sleep. Many of the soldiers passed the night 
in the trees, and placing a piece of hard turf, 
taken from the ant-hills, amongst the boughs. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES- 



263 



kindled a fire tipon it to heat the water in which 
they infused the herb of Paraguay. Barreda 
reached our town a little before noon, on Whit- 
sunday. He alighted from his horse, his clothes 
dripping with the rain, and hastening to the 
church, assisted me as I was ministering at the 
altar; thus affording an excellent example to 
the surrounding soldiers and Indians. But his 
mind was wholly intent on speedily remedying 
the afflicted state of the town, which, to prevent 
its utter ruin, he wished to have removed to the 
banks of the Salado, eighty leagues distant from 
its former situation. But Alaykin boldly and 
prudently condemned the proposed migration, 
declaring that the place mentioned by Barreda 
for the site of the colony, appeared to him ob- 
jectionable. '* What," said he, '* do you wish 
us to drink bitter water, which the very beasts 
refuse to touch?" The counsels of Barreda 
were equally displeasing to all the other Abi- 
pones, who were strongly attached to their na- 
tive soil, a soil abounding in delightful fruits and 
wild animals, and fortified with so many secure 
lurking-holes ; and who dreaded the vicinity of 
the Spaniards with as much anxiety as servitude, 
having learnt that the one was often the occa- 
sion of the other. Although Barreda endea- 
voured to mollify them w^ith gifts and promises, 
he never could induce them to yield to his 

8 4, 




264 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



wishes. He gave the Cacique Malakin a woollen 
blanket, handsomely embroidered in various co- 
lours; a gift which proved the most powerful 
persuasive to his mind. Arrayed with this 
elegant coverlet, the savage promised to mi- 
grate, with his family, wherever Barreda chose, 
and prevailed upon the Cacique Ypirikin and 
his followers, to make the same resolution. 

But the followers of the Caciques Alaykin, 
Oaikin, Machito, and Zapancha, were afraid that 
the Spanish soldiers would take them by force 
whither they refused to go, and that should they 
desert, Barreda would be angry, and fall upon 
them by surprize. Solicitous, therefore, to avert 
this disaster, they secretly sent to the town 
of St. Jeronymo, to request the aid of their 
old friend Ychamenraikin, who accordingly came 
with a chosen band of soldiers, under pretence 
of paying his respects to Barreda. This Cacique 
was present at the repeated consultations which 
Barreda held with our chiefs, and always spoke 
with great earnestness in dissuasion of the pro- 
posed removal ; but was so highly incensed at 
a gentle rebuke he received from Barreda, for 
meddling with other people's concerns, that 
though he dissembled his angry feelings in pre- 
sence of the Spaniards, he immediately con- 
ferred in private with Alaykin on the subject of 
renouncing their friendship. It was his intention 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



265 



to desert the colony, and after slaying the two 
priests, Brigniel and Navalon, to return to his 
old retreats, and renew the war with the 
Spaniards. This he prefaced by making his 
people carry off a number of choice horses from 
Barreda's soldiers, and indeed he would have 
put the whole of his iniquitous scheme into 
execution, had it not been for Chitalin, Cacique 
of the Mocobios, who fortunately came from St. 
Xavier to speak with Barreda about some of 
his countrymen still remaining in captivity 
amongst the Spaniards, and afterwards went a 
little out of his way to visit the town of St. 
Jeronymo, which was only ten leagues distant 
from our colony. The friendship and eloquence 
of the Mocobian Cacique had so much influence 
upon Ychamenraikin as utterly to banish this 
wicked determination from his mind; he even 
had the horses, taken from Barreda's soldiers, 
brought back to St. lago, and ever after culti- 
vated the friendship of the Spaniards. 

Rain continued without intermission for 
more than a month had converted the whole of 
.the plain country into a lake. Most of the 
horses perished from their hoofs being softened 
by remaining in the water day and night, and 
those which survived could scarcely stand on 
their feet. Three hundred were left on the road, 
being unable to travel on that account. Many 



.::.;i 



266 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



of the soldiers, who had come furnished with 
ten horses, had not one remaining on their 
return, and were forced to use others lent them 
by their companions. Amid these tumults, 
both of the weather and of the people, indignant 
at the very mention of a removal, a whole 
month passed away. Barreda, impatient of 
the delay, determined to set off without wait- 
ing for the cessation of the rain, accompanied 
by his own people, and those families of Abi- 
pones that chose to follow him. The day 
before the journey, four waggons were sent 
forward, laden with the domestic furniture of 
the town, and also with gates, and doors of 
houses ; five pair of oxen, and twenty assisting 
horses were requisite to drag each of these 
waggons through a country full of water and 
marshes : at length, however, as no strength 
nor industry proved sufficient, it was found 
necessary to lighten the waggons of the doors 
and every thing of wood. 

When we were ready to depart, the Abi- 
pones sat quietly in their huts, all of which Bar- 
reda entered with me. I acted as interpreter, 
whilst he warned them in a melancholy and 
threatening tone, to consider again and again 
what they were doing ; intimating that he should 
look upon those as his friends who followed us, 
but that they vvho remained would hardly 



jiri'>r'4Jg 



lilSTOKY OF THE A BI PONES. 



267 



escape the avenging hands of Ychoalay, and 
the Spaniards of Sta. F^. All his efforts 
were vain. Mournful silence and sullen looks 
were their only reply. Barreda, not choosing 
to delay any longer, left the town with me, 
part of the soldiers being sent forward, part fol- 
lowing us ; but Father Sanchez was suddenly 
seized with an indisposition so that he could 
not join us till the morrow. Malakin, Ypirikin, 
and thirty families followed us on the first day 
of our journey. 

On the second, the showers ceased, but con- 
stant rain for thirty days had entirely inundated 
the country, which is naturally plain and level. 
For three weeks we had to ride on horseback 
with the water touching our legs, and often 
reaching up to our knees. That the continual 
wet might be the sooner exhaled, we always 
rode barefoot, hanging our shoes and stockings 
from the top of the saddle : for the water con- 
tained within the shoes causes faintings, weak- 
ness of stomach, small ulcers, head-ache, and 
other disorders in America. We found chewed 
tobacco leaves, mixed with saliva, and applied 
every night to the soles of our feet, a powerful 
preservative against this noxious moisture. On 
the same account it was thought useful to smoke 
tobacco. We were obliged to pass the night 
in the cold air, often covered from head to foot 




268 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



with hoar frost, which was almost continual at 
that time of the year. When we wanted to lie 
down at night, much art and good fortune were 
requisite to choose a situation, which, though 
very muddy, had but little water. We were 
obliged to swim, or sail on the pelota across 
some rivers, which had overflowed their banks ; 
but it was a matter of more time and labour to 
convey to the other side huge waggons, and some 
thousands of sheep, oxen, and horses, without 
the assistance of a bridge or boat. 

Some soldiers, weary of travelling, deserted 
from us. One, who was particularly eager to 
get home, endeavoured to accelerate his return 
by a great piece of villainy. He knew that 
they would be detained a long time in building 
the new colony, and, resolving to disconcert the 
whole scheme, persuaded the Abipones, under 
a show of kindness and compassion, to return 
to their native soil, affirming that Barreda's only 
motive in removing them from thence, was to 
furnish himself with an opportunity of surpri- 
zing and slaying them with impunity. The 
asseverations of this wicked man found the 
readier credit with the Abipones, from their 
constantly having this suspicion impressed upon 
their minds. Next day, when we began to 
proceed on our journey, not one of the Abipones 
was seen to stir. Barreda, astonished at this 



f»:i 



HISTORY OF THE ABTPONES. 



269 



Ml 



sudden tergiversation, inquires the cause, but 
receives no answer ; till at last a woman, who 
had long been in captivity amongst the Spa- 
niards, makes known the soldier's impudent 
discourse, but could be induced by no solicita- 
tions to discover the man's name. Barreda, 
after threatening this most abandoned of man- 
kind, whoever he was, with a thousand deaths, 
reproached Malakin for his ridiculous credulity, 
and that he might be prevailed upon to pursue 
his journey by some new testimony of friend- 
ship, made him a present of the silver clasps 
that fastened his shirt-sleeves, having nothing 
else left to give. This bauble proved as potent 
as the coverlet had done, and induced the de- 
serting Indians to follow us. But here too we 
found that violent affections are but of short du- 
ration. The nearer the Abipones drew to the 
Spanish territories, the stronger grew their fear 
and repentance at having quitted their native 
country. At night, as we were sitting on the 
ground near the fire with Barreda, Malakin 
came to us, and protested that those lands 
were not approved of by his people ; that they 
dreaded the neighbourhood of the Spanish na- 
tion, and lamented the want of trees, fruits, 
roots, and herbs, which the women could not 
dispense with. Barreda exerted all his elo- 
quence to refute these objections, and retain the 



270 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



wavering minds of the people in their duty, pro- 
mising all sorts of benefits, emoluments, secu- 
rity, and convenience to accrue from the vicinity 
of the Spanish towns ; which method of arguing 
moved our extreme disapprobation, as the In- 
dians, finding things turn out contrary to what 
they had been led to expect, began to accuse 
the Spaniards of want of veracity, and greater 
liberality in words than deeds. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



271 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



THE CALAMITIES AND PERPETUAL MUTATIONS OF THE 
NEW COLONY AT THE EIVER SALADO. 

Two-and-t\venty days elapsed before we reach- 
ed the situation appointed for the colony. To- 
wards the east it has the bank of the river 
Salado ; an extensive plain stretches itself to- 
wards the west, and on the north and south it 
is shut in by a wood. A plain, situated in the 
midst, scarce four hundred feet in extent, and 
sloping down from the high shore of the Salado, 
was chosen for the site of the colony. The 
river, though swollen with long rain, had some- 
thing salt and bitter in the taste of its waters, 
and we all foresaw that when the sun's heat 
caused the flood to cease we should be in want 
of water for daily use. Barreda, contented with 
the situation that first ofl'ered, was displeased at 
liearing these true, though unpleasant observa- 
tions, and angrily said — " Whoever dislikes this 
water, may go a hundred leagues off to drink of 
the Parana, for aught I care." Under his di- 
rections, two little huts were hastily built for 
myself and my companion, of stakes, covered 



272 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES* 



with dry grass ; a third of the same description 
was erected to serve as a temporary chapel. 
The Abipones were forced to lodge under the 
mats which they made use of in travelling. 
Without any further trouble, Barreda departed 
with his soldiers, and was declared the founder 
of a new town by the Governor of Tucuman, 
the Viceroy of Lima, and indeed every body. 

Deserted in a vast wilderness, and delivered 
up to the savages, to misery, and continual 
perils, we were called miracles of patience and 
obedience by all the well-judging Spaniards ; 
and indeed, had we had as many assisting hands 
as admiring eyes, ourselves and the Abipones 
would have been well provided for. Our huts 
were completely exposed to sun, rain, and 
wind, to serpents, toads, and dormice, and, what 
was most dangerous, to tigers. The place of 
door and window was supplied by two holes, 
before each of which we suspended a bull's hide. 
But neither materials nor tools for making tables 
were to be got. Great numbers of tigers lay 
hid within a neighbouring wood, and in wet 
weather used to creep into the tents of the In- 
dians to shelter themselves from the rain and 
stormy wind ; they also attempted to enter our 
huts sometimes, as we discovered in the morn- 
ing from the marks of their feet, but were de- 
terred by a mastiff dog, which we kept for a 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



273 



guard. The more tigers were pierced by the 
spears of the Abipones, the more seemed to flock 
thither, as if to revenge the deaths of their com- 
panions. Crowds of large dormice, impelled by 
hunger, resorted to us from the plain, and finding 
no eatables, gnawed every thing of wood, or flax, 
or wool in our house. The place also swarmed 
with large and venomous toads, which, if of- 
fended by a blow or kick, immediately squirted 
out their blinding urine. About sun-set they 
issued in crowds from their holes, and covering 
all the ground, rendered it as slippery to the feet 
as ice. These were the distresses of the place; 
what shall I say of our own ? 

Beef, and that wretchedly bad, was almost 
our only provision: though we sometimes tasted 
the wings of the emus which the Indians caught. 
We seldom or never used wine, except at mass. 
Our own privations, however, we could have 
borne with; the worst was our being destitute 
of the ordinary comforts and conveniences for 
the Indians. We had no provision to give 
them but ill- tasted beef, the oxen having grown 
extremely lean from the fatigues of the journey. 
Their daily employment, to pass away the 
time and to assuage their hunger, was hunting 
emus and collecting honey from under ground. 
Boars, stags, tamanduas, the fruits of palms and 
other trees, and eatable roots, all which abound 

VOL. II r. T 



274 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



i 



in Ghaco, are not to be found here. A nume- 
rous flock of sheep, which supplied us with 
wool for wearing-apparel, disappeared in one 
night : the Abipones, after diligently searching 
the woods and remoter plains, could discover 
no traces of them. Eight days after their dis- 
appearance one ram returned to the town, but 
what became of the rest is unknown to this day. 
Continual disturbances were added to our ex- 
treme poverty. As the highway leading out of 
Tucuman to Sta. F^ lay near the town, travel- 
lers frequently carried off our horses and oxen 
that were dispersed up and down the pastures. 
The same depredations were committed with 
impunity by parties of wandering savages. 
Many scouts were sent by Alaykin's hordesmen, 
who remained in their native place, to examine 
the situation of the town, and other particulars, 
to entice Malakin s people away, and to threaten 
them with hostile assaults and all sorts of extre- 
mities, unless they returned to the former co- 
lony. Malakin himself, however, remained firm, 
holding threats and promises in equal contempt, 
but not a few of his hordesmen were prevailed 
upon to revisit Alaykin's horde, afterwards re- 
joining us again and again. The perpetual 
going and returning of the savages was like the 
ebbing and flowing of the ocean. Alaykin, still 
unreconciled to the change of the town, in- 



^•^»qr:cn jM 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



275 



fested all the ways between Cordoba and Sta. 
F^ with a great company of Abipones, and be- 
came highly formidable to all travellers. Of the 

Spanish merchants some were slain, some robbed, 
and others annoyed by vexatious detention. 

I informed Barreda, by means of a trusty 
messenger, of the slaughter and rapine com- 
mitted by the hostile Abipones, and of their 
threats and intentions,' that he might, if pos- 
sible, find some means of restraining their bold- 
ness, and providing for the security of the Spa- 
nish travellers. Troops of horse had indeed 
been repeatedly sent us, both to act as guards 
and to build our houses : yet the savages never 
made closer or more daring attacks upon our 
colony, never carried off greater numbers of 
horses and oxen, or caused us more trouble and 
danger than when these few soldiers were pre- 
sent. At length Barreda came himself with 
two companies of horse, and directed a couple 
of small rooms to be built for us of unbaked 
brick, and wooden beams; a third, of the same 
materials, but longer, was styled a chapel. We 
ourselves were not mere spectators, bilt stre- 
nuous assistants in the whole work: — laboriously 
occupied with mud and timber, we wearied 
both our hands and feet for whole days. 

It grieved us greatly that buildings erected 
with so much labour should be occupied by us 

T 2 



276 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



but a very few days. Shortly after, when, at 
the command of the Superiors, I removed to 
St. Jeronymo, my companion and the Indians 
were obliged to migrate elsewhere : the neigh- 
bouring rivers and lakes being exhausted by 
long drought, or at least impregnated with salt, 
and the plain being on the same account desti- 
tute of grass, it became necessary to remove the 
colony to the shores of the Dulce, many leagues 
distant, before the cattle and the inhabitants 
were destroyed by hunger and thirst. When 
settled there, the Abipones had nearly been 
overwhelmed in the night by a sudden inunda- 
tion of the river, a greater than which none of 
the natives had ever witnessed. Thus they 
were obliged to remove their colony over and 
over again, one time to seek water, at another 
to avoid it. How calamitous and prejudicial 
these reiterated migrations were to the In- 
dians, to the priests, and to the cattle, would be 
tedious to relate. After fourteen changes of the 
colony, they at last obtained a more fortunate 
situation on the western shore of the Rio Dulce, 
inhabited by Spaniards, and about fifty leagues 
distant from the city of St. lago. More fertile 
pastures were no where to be found : so that 
within a few years the number of kine increased 
to thirty thousand, though many were yearly 
consumed in feeding the Indians, especially 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



277 



after Debayakaikin and his numerous hordes- 
men fled thither from St. Ferdinand. This new 
guest proved in reality an enemy to the colony 
by frequently involving it in broils, on account 
of his long quarrel with Ychoalay. At length, 
however, he bade farewel to the town of Con- 
cepcion, and retired, with most of his people, to 
their ancient retreats in Chaco, where, as I have 
related, he was slain in battle by Ychoalay. 

The colony, freed from the disturbers of its 
peace, began at length to enjoy tranquillity; 
but the fruits never corresponded to the labour 
bestowed upon it for many years by the inde- 
fatigable Sanchez and his various companions. 
Many adults, however, especially when at the 
point of death, and a still greater number of in- 
fants, received baptism; the rest were civilized. 
The Spaniards accounted the friendship of this 
nation, formerly for many years their bitterest 
enemies, an immortal benefit; and learnt, at 
length, after they had lost us, that to our patience 
and industry they were chiefly indebted for it : 
for when, to the grief of all Paraguay, we were 
sent back to Europe, almost all the Abipones 
returned to their former savage state, and were 
not to be appeased by the Spaniards without 
the utmost difficulty. 



t3 



278 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 



A COLONY INHABITED BY THE YAAUKANIGA ABIPONES, 
AND DISTINGUISHED BY THE NAME OF ST. FERDINAND 
AND ST. FRANCIS. 

The city of Corrientes, brought to extremities 
by the depredations of the savages, had long 
been desirous to follow the example of the other 
cities, and found a colony of Yaaukaniga Abi- 
pones, which might defend them against the in- 
roads of the Tobas and Mocobios. A little town 
was at length prepared under the directions of the 
Vice-Governor Patron, and with the consent of 
Ychoalay, who at first opposed the design. The 
Indians had themselves made choice of a situa- 
tion, which, though not the most opportune, was 
approved by the Spaniards, from their being 
unable to meet with a more eligible one. It is a 
small piece of plain ground, two leagues distant 
from the western shore of the Parana, a little 
below its j unction with the Paraguay. Towards 
the east it has the city Corrientes in front, and 
behind it flows the Rio Negro, the waters of 
which are so bitter and salt that the very beasts 
refuse them. It is surrounded on every side by 
woods and pools, all destitute of fresh water. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



279 



but swarming with leeches, crocodiles, and va- 
rious kinds of large snakes. This whole tract 
of land runs out into plain ground, partially in- 
terrupted with marshes and woods, and affords 
rich and wholesome pasture for cattle, especially 
where a grove of caranday palms is extended 
for many leagues along the shore of the Parana. 
The soil, if tilled, returns every kind of seed 
with interest. The trees are laden with a va- 
riety of fruits, and resound with the singing of 
parrots and other birds, and the chattering of 
apes. Boars, stags, deer, various kinds of rab- 
bits, capibaris, ducks, plenty of honey, alfaro- 
bas, and noble trees, affording wood for making 
ships, waggons, or houses, are every where to be 
seen. But tigers, alas! continually infest this 
place; the climate, which is excessively hot, 
abounds in whirlwinds, lightning, and rain; and 
the air, pregnant with noxious vapours pro- 
ceeding from the stagnant waters of adjacent 
marshes, as well as with innumerable gnats, 
renders life unpleasant, and night intolerable to 
the inhabitants. - 

Yet here did the Yaaukanigas, for many 
years, make their abode. Their Cacique, Nar^, 
was a man of noble birth and distinguished 
prowess, but not otherwise remarkable either 
for greatness of mind or body, and notoriously 
addicted to women and drinking. Fonder of 

T 4 



280 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



ease thanof business, he on all occasions betrayed 
a very indolent disposition. He was thought, 
however, to have redeemed this vice of his na- 
ture by some appearance of virtue, on account 
of the fidelity with which he adhered to the 
peace he had granted the Spaniards; though 
this his followers, eager for booty, attributed to 
fear rather than to virtue. He had many 
younger brothers, amongst the most famous 
Pachiek^, a man endowed with great boldness 
and equal sagacity, who made himself much 
dreaded in the course of the war with the Spa- 
niards : but who, by intemperance in drinking, 
and frequent repudiations of his wives, had sul- 
lied his reputation for valour. He entertained 
a great affection for Nicolas Patron, who always 
partook of his deliberations when war was 
treated of. We thought his sagacity of no less 
importance than his bravery, when the enemies 
were to be dealt with. Besides Nar^, some of 
the Yaaukanigas followed Oahari and Kachiri- 
kin, men in the prime of their age, and equally 
distinguished by their noble family and skill in 
plundering. 

There was a great succession of priests of 
our order in the administration of this colony : 
they all came full of health, but their strength 
being exhausted, were generally recalled to 
recruit. It is incredible what dangers and 
distresses were endured by Fathers Thomas and 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



281 



Joseph Garzia, the first founders, amongst these 
ferocious savages. Kachirikin, the most inso- 
lent of them, because he was not allowed to slay 
cows at his pleasure, attempted to catch Father 
Garzia with a halter, in the sight of the Spa- 
niards. These men were succeeded in a few 
months by Fathers Joseph Rosa and Pedro Ebia, 
who departed, the one grievously affected in his 
feet, the other in his head. At last, Father Jo- 
seph Klein, a Bohemian, though often ill in 
health, proved equal to the burden, and sus- 
tained it to the end. What he did and endured 
for about twenty years may be easier conceived 
than described. He was able to overcome 
every kind of danger and misery, fearlessly 
despising the one, and patiently enduring the 
other. He employed the annual subsidies ad- 
vanced by the Guarany towns, in establishing a 
rich estate on the opposite bank of the Parana, 
from the profits of which he obtained every thing 
necessary for feeding and clothing the Indians. 
I must here renew my former complaint, that 
although the Spaniards derived so much advan- 
tage from the peace and friendship of the sa- 
vages, they did little or nothing towards pre- 
serving their colonies, so that the whole weight 
of anxiety respecting the support of the Indians, 
devolved upon our shoulders. If it had de- 
pended upon the citizens of Corrientes alone, 






i U i ; g jj«.JtH : ? ia 



282 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



this colony would most certainly have perished 
in its infancy from want of food and necessaries 
of every sort. For nearly all the sacred utensils, 
for our whole stock of cloth for clothing the In- 
dians, and of cattle in the estate, we were in- 
debted to the liberality of the Guaranies. 

Joseph Klein often spent many months in 
this town without any companion, but he was 
assisted at different times by Fathers Gregorio 
Mesquida, Juan Quesada, and Dominico Per- 
feti, a Roman, to whom, he having been long in 
a bad state of health, I was ordered by the 
Provincial to succeed. Leaving St. Jeronymo, 
after spending two years there, I was obliged 
to sail, for some days, against the stream on the 
river Parana, in a wretched boat ; the rest of 
the way from the little town of Sta. Lucia to the 
city of Corrientes I travelled on horseback. 
The storminess of the weather, the consequent 
marshiness of the roads and swelling of the 
rivers, together with the neighbourhood of the 
savage Charruas, rendered the journey ex- 
tremely difficult, and, on many accounts, dan- 
gerous. I was honourably conducted, by the 
then Vice-Governor, to the colony of St. Ferdi- 
nand, on my first approach to which many 
things presented themselves to my observation 
which could not but be unpleasing — a place 
surrounded on all sides by marshes, lakes, and 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



283 



close impending woods ; air burning day and 
night; and a very small apartment furnished 
with two doors but no window, and roofed with 
the bark of the palm, so badly cemented, that, 
whenever it rained, you were as much wetted 
in the house as if you had been out of doors. 
At dinner, water was taken from a neighbouring 
ditch where numbers of horses, dogs, and other 
animals daily drank and bathed, which received 
all the filth of the town, and was full of leeches 
and insects of different kinds. When I consi- 
dered these things I no longer wondered that the 
health of my predecessors had given way, and 
that the Indians themselves had so often to 
contend with tertian fevers. 

Although I had remained uninjured amidst a 
hundred calamities during the former years, yet 
this situation had well nigh proved fatal to me. 
The origin of my complaint was this. Towards 
sun-set the air was filled with innumerable 
gnats, which intruded into my apartment when 
supper was brought in, and by their stings and 
their loud hissing prevented me from gaining a 
moment's rest. I passed whole nights without 
sleep, walking up and down the court-yard for 
the sake of fresh air, which brought on a loath- 
ing of food. Continual want of rest and sus- 
tenance reduced me to such an emaciated state 
that I was literally nothing but skin and bone. 



K ! 



Zb54 HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 

Some thought I could not survive above three 
months, but these sad presages were prevented 
from being fulfilled by the humanity of the Pro- 
vincial, at whose command I was removed to 
the old towns of the Guaranies. It was not with- 
out tears that I bade farewell to the Abipones, 
amongst whom I had lived for five years, and 
with whose language I was become pretty well 
acquainted ; but the idea of returning to them, 
when restored to health, mitigated my grief at 
parting. After four months spent in the town 
of Sta. Maria Mayor, on the shores of the Uru- 
guay, the inveterate nausea departed, sleep and 
appetite returned, and my health was com- 
pletely re-established. After spending nine 
years amongst the Guaranies, whose language, 
which is much easier than the Abiponian, I soon 
learnt, I was again called out to found a colony 
for the Abipones in Timbo, but returned at the 
end of two years. In short, I performed the 
part of a missionary for eighteen years, spend- 
ing seven amongst the Abipones, eleven amongst 
the Guaranies. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



285 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 



PROGRESS OF THE TOWN OF ST. FERDINAND, WHICH WAS 
RETARDED BY DEBAYAKAIKIN. 

The Yaaukanigas, in proportion as they have 
less estimable qualities than the other Abipones, 
are more arrogant and untractable; yet we 
never despaired of bringing them to a better 
course of life, and of this there appeared some 
likelihood, so lc«ig as they were the sole inha- 
bitants of the colony. The more advanced in 
age discontinued their usual incursions against 
the Spaniards, and employed themselves in 
agriculture. Their dispositions grew milder 
from daily intercourse with us. After some 
months' instruction we joyfully beheld an ap- 
pearance of civilization beginning to flourish 
amongst them ; their horror of baptism insen- 
sibly wore away, many infants and young 
people received it with the consent of their 
parents, and numbers of women and girls 
crowded to partake of the daily instructions in 
the rudiments of religion. But the old female 
jugglers thought it a crime even to touch the 
threshold of the church, and did their utmost 
to prevent others from entering it ; and to com- 



:j!i.| 



286 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



pel the boys, who were driving about on horse- 
back, to attend divine service, was a matter of 
some difficulty. One of the Yaaukanigas, a 
man advanced in years, came with his family to 
be baptized at the very beginning of the colony. 
The strict integrity of this excellent man ob- 
tained him the name of Juan Bueno, and his 
wife, daughter, and female Negro captive were 
equally exemplary in their conduct. 
. The great hopes that we began to entertain 
of the happy advancement of religion and of the 
colony, were all nipped in the bud by the un- 
lucky arrival of Debayakaikin, who, fearing an 
attack from Ychoalay, fled thither with a troop 
of his hordesmen, thinking himself secure in a 
town under the protection of the Spaniards. 
Of Ychoalay's challenge to Debayakaikin, and 
the pacification effected by means of the Vice- 
Governor of Corrientes, I have spoken else- 
where ; I shall now show how pernicious De- 
bayakaikin's visit proved to the colony of St. 
Ferdinand. His voracious and turbulent fol- 
lowers, besides privately slaying oxen and 
calves, to the great loss of the estate, involved 
the colony itself in a war with its neighbours, 
the Mocobios and Tobas. A party of Mocobios, 
leaving the town of Concepcion, surprized the 
unfortunate Alaykin, about day-break, in the 
open plain, and after slaying him and seven 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



287 



of his fellow-soldiers, in an engagement, they 
roasted and devoured them on the spot. Many 
wounded Abipones saved their lives by the 
swiftness of their horses, but the women and 
children fled for security to the recesses of a 
neighbouring grove. Pachiek^, to revenge his 
father's death, persuaded the Yaaukanigas and 
Debayakaikin's hordesmen to undertake an ex- 
pedition against the Mocobios, in which al- 
though scarcely any blood was shed, yet the 
Mocobios, provoked by this hostile incursion, 
conspired to the destruction of the whole colony. 
Repeated assaults were made both by day and 
night, and continued for many years with va- 
rious fortune : out of many I will relate a few. 
About day-break a vast company of Moco- 
bios suddenly made their appearance in the 
market-place. Some of them surrounded De- 
bayakaikin, who was drinking with most of his 
hordesmen; the rest meantime, unopposedly, 
carried off droves of horses that were wandering 
up and down the pastures. This vast booty, 
however, cost the lives of some ; for Pachiek^, 
brother of the Cacique Nare, mounting a horse, 
attacked the hindmost company as they were 
departing, and pierced some with his spear, 
which, on his return, he displayed smoking 
with recent blood. On many other occasions, 
the Yaaukanigas, having expeditious horses at 



288 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



hand, pursued the flying Mocobios, and de- 
prived them not only of the horses they had 
plundered, but of those they had used on the 
journey, sending them home on foot to report 
the deaths of their comrades. One time the 
plain was deluged to such a degree that it did 
not afford a single spot where the Mocobios 
could lie down at night ; they therefore made 
themselves beds by twining twigs here and 
there amongst the boughs of the trees, and in 
these hurdles laid themselves down to sleep, 
but were surprized at night by the pursuing 
Yaaukanigas, who slew some, wounded others, 
and carried off the whole of the booty. Would 
that they had been equally successful on the 
eleventh of December ! that day, so fatal to my 
horses, will never be erased from my memory. 
The day before, a Guarany, who guarded the 
cattle, announced that, early in the morning, he 
had observed the footsteps of the enemy, and 
that many horses were missing. Whilst the 
Yaaukanigas were vainly deploring their loss, 
I, with my companion Father Klein, and two 
young men, traversed the plain for some time on 
horseback. We saw that a troop had passed 
the Rio Negro, from their footsteps impressed 
on the sand, and from, the grass being trodden 
down by the multitude of horses. No one 
doubted that the enemy were by that time at a 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



289 



considerable distance, no one therefore thought 
of pursuing them. I often blew a military 
trumpet, and with a loud voice we uttered many 
pleasant sayings in the Mocobian tongue; we 
were both seen and heard by the Mocobios, 
who were lurking hard by, but not attacked^ 
because they purposed making an assault on 
the town next day ^ No suspicion of the enemy's 
intention being entertained, we all slept soundly. 
But lo ! and behold, the next day at eleven 
o'clock the same Mocobios came in sight of the 
town to carry off the remaining herd of horses ; 
Most of the Yaaukanigas being engaged in the 
chase, the rest in drinking^ and we ourselves in 
sleeping, as usual with the Spaniards at mid- 
day, the women assembled together and filled 
the market-place and our court-yard with their 
lamentations; awakened by which we flew to 
repel the enemy, each furnished with a musket, 
and rendered, by this means, formidable to ever 
so numerous a foe. Father Klein set off firsts 
accompanied by two Abipones. As I was fol- 
lowing, a drunken Yaaukaniga took me by the 
shoulder, and said, in a fierce tone, " Where 
are you hurrying ? Why don't you remain to 
guard the town ? It is better that our horses 
should be taken than our wives and children." 
*' Let me alone," replied I ; " both shall be 
taken care of." 



VOL. III. 



u 



290 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



I was now farther from the town than from 
the enemies, and seeing the plain filled with 
them as with a swarm of locusts, could scarce 
persuade myself that such a multitude could be 
kept in awe by two muskets. Nevertheless I 
hastily tied on my slippers that I might be dis- 
encumbered in running, if a precipitate retreat 
were necessary, and advanced towards the 
savages whom I saw Father Klein approaching ; 
but they, terrified at the sight of the musket 
alone, took to immediate flight, carrying off 
with them a numerous drove of horses. Al- 
though the enemy was gone we did not think 
ourselves free from the danger of an attack, a 
cloud of dust causing us to suspect that a troop 
of savage horse was approaching within the 
woods. The armed Yaaukanigas stood for some 
time in form of battle, till at length we saw an 
Indian bringing back the remains of the horses 
which had escaped the hands of the plunderers. 
Quickly mounting these horses they all has- 
tened, about sun-set, to a place some leagues 
distant, named Likinranala; for they knew 
that the Mocobios would pass that way, and 
therefore entertained great hopes of being able 
to chastise them, and to recover the horses. 
But they returned next day empty-handed, 
having been eluded by the craftiness of the 
enemy, who, forewarned by their spies, that 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



291 



our people were lying in ambuscade, avoided 
that situation, and swifty fled with their booty 
through ways impeded with marshes and reeds, 
first disencumbering themselves of the saddles, 
and whatever else might retard their flight; 
which, as it could be made no use of, our 
people burnt. For my own part I had to 
lament the loss of some excellent horses, though 
consoled by the circumstance that this aggres- 
sion had ended without slaughter on either side, 
though there is reason to doubt that all the 
Mocobios reached home without loss of blood, 
as weapons were cast at them in their ap- 
proach to the estate by some Yaaukanigas who 
guarded the cattle, but with what success is 
not known. 



u 2 



292 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES* 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



FRESH DISTURBANCES, CAUSED BOTH BY STRANGERS, 
AND BY THE INHABITANTS THEMSELVES. 

At another time the colony was threatened 
with a still more dangerous storm, but which 
was averted by the valour of the Yaaukanigas. 
More than three hundred Mocobios and Tobas 
approached the town by a silent and hasty 
journey. One of their number deserted, — got 
the start of his companions, and informed 
Oaherkaikin's Abipones, our neighbours and 
friends, of the impending attack; by which: 
means we received timely intelligence of our 
danger. Father Klein, seeing that we were 
inferior to the enemy in point of number, with 
his usual intrepidity crossed the Parana in a 
boat, though a violent south wind had rendered 
it exceedingly rough, to seek supplies from the 
Vice-Governor of Corrientes. Meantime our 
Yaaukanigas, who were constantly exhorted by 
me to a strenuous defence of the colony, in- 
dulged in drinking, as usual with them when 
they anticipate an encounter with the enemy. 
For my part I neglected nothing which could 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



293 



contribute to the defence of the colony, exert- 
ing the utmost vigilance, and sending scouts 
and guards in every direction. At two o'clock 
on Quinquagesima Sunday, a Yaaukanigd. 
spied one of the enemies in a neighbouring 
field, from which we readily concluded that a 
company was there also. The Yaaukanigas, 
though hardly able to stand on their feet from 
intoxication, immediately mounted their horses 
which the women made ready, and rushed in a 
disorderly manner upon the Mocobios and 
Tobas, who were lying hid at the border of the 
wood. Uncertain of the event, and anxious 
for the safety of the town, I remained in arms 
ready to bring my assistance wherever it might 
be required. Gracious Providence ordered 
things according to our wish ; for the enemies, 
surrounded, and alarmed at our sudden attack, 
chose to decline battle, and trust to flight. In 
the closeness of pursuit, the Mocobios were 
divided. Part flying towards the south slew 
two Abiponian women who were gathering 
•^Ifarobas, and carried into captivity one infant 
which they took from its mother's breast. The 
other part hastened towards the north, pur- 
sued by our townsmen till late at night. One 
only of the Yaaukanigas received a slight 
wound at the beginning of the conflict : how 

u 3 



294 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 




many of the enemy were slain and wounded is 
uncertain. 

But you, I suppose, are still expecting the 
auxiliary forces which Father Klein had sailed 
to Corrientes to seek the day before. I will 
give you some account of this matter, to show 
you how little dependence could be placed on 
the support of the Spaniards, even in cases of 
extreme danger. About evening, v/hilst our 
Indians were pursuing the enemy, two Spanish 
soldiers arrived, but neither of them deserved 
the name of soldier, or bore the slightest sha- 
dow of resemblance to a Spaniard. If Hercules 
be not a match for two, what, I beseech you, 
could a couple of poor dastardly fellows do 
against four hundred savages ? They were of 
no use whatever, and served only to excite the 
laughter of the Indians. No prayers, no pro- 
mises, could induce them to employ themselves 
in removing the cattle to the town, lest the 
Mocobios should carry them away at night 
from the pastures : palpitating with fear they 
declared it impossible to stir without the inclo- 
sure of our house. The Indian boys, more 
courageous than these soldiers, brought the 
whole herd within sight of the town, and dili- 
gently guarded them at night that they might 
not be again dispersed. We all kept watch 
the whole night lest the enemy should repeat 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



295 



the attack; and indeed in the morning our 
scouts discovered traces of the Mocobios who 
had been wandering over our estate. 

The Yaaukanigas, exasperated at the slaugh- 
ter of the two women, and at the inefficient sup- 
plies afforded them by the Spaniards, sent a 
courier for the Vice-Governor, and menacingly 
signified that they should consider any delay 
or refusal as a violation of friendship ; and on 
Ash Wednesday, Nicolas Patron, accompanied 
by ten soldiers, appeared with Father Klein. 
Our Indians, and the hordesmen of Oaherkai- 
kin, who had been summoned to attend, re- 
ceived him in arms, and with their faces 
painted ; and when he entered our house they 
besieged the doors on both sides, and blocked 
up all access to the market-place, which plainly 
indicated that they entertained hostile inten- 
tions. The Vice-Governor, who was of an in- 
trepid and jocular disposition, spying Pachiek^, 
brother of Nar^, at other times a great friend 
of his, said to him, — " If you are going to speak 
with me, first wipe off the soot with which you 
have daubed your face ;" to this he replied, in 
a threatening tone, " Because you are going 
to speak with me is the very reason that I have 
painted my face with these dark colours." He 
then, in the name of all the people, insolently 
rehearsed their grounds of complaint, saying, 

u 4 



•■■I 



•' 4 




296 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



" We victors unwillingly granted i/ou vanquisHed 
the peace you sued for. Long did we refuse this 
colony which you have thrust upon us, know- 
ing ourselves less powerful than the enemies 
which dwelt in the neighbourhood. To free 
us from this anxiety how many and great were 
your promises ! ' My soldiers,' said you, 
* shall be yours, and your enemies shall be 
mine.' Our forming this friendship with you, 
procured us the hatred of the Mocobios and 
Tobas, our former allies. For many years 
they have dared the utmost against us. Our 
children are torn from their mothers' bosoms, 
our wives slain, our horses stolen ; the enemies 
attack us day and night, and did we not elude 
their snares by vigilance, and their numbers by 
valour, not a man of us would be left alive, or 
have a horse to sit upon. These things are not 
unknown to you, yet you quietly hear of our 
calamities without emotion, and never even 
bestow a thought upon assisting us. Of late, 
when, to revenge our injuries, we attacked the 
Mocobios with hostile arms, how fiercely was 
your anger kindled against us ! You are afraid, 
forsooth, that the Mocobios, if provoked by us, 
will vent their rage upon you, and ravage the 
territory of Corrientes. How long will you 
have your security purchased with the danger of 
our lives ? Spite of all your opposition, we are 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



297 



determined to go out against the Mocobios, and 
revenge our injuries. This one request we 
reasonably make, as a testimony of your friend- 
ship, and a reward of ours, that you will send 
ten Spanish horsemen, provided with muskets, 
to accompany us on this expedition." Here 
the Governor interrupted Pachieke, who was 
proceeding to say more, and with an ill-timed 
joke evaded his threatening speech. " When," 
said he, " with a very long spear in your hands, 
and paints of various colours on your faces, you 
make the plain tremble under your horses' feet, 
and fill the air with the horrible braying of 
trumpets, in good sooth, you think yourselves 
mighty heroes." As he spoke this with mi- 
micking gestures, appearing to ridicule the 
method of warfare practised by the Abipones, 
extreme indignation was excited amongst the 
bystanders. Whilst the rest were expressing 
their resentment, one, more forward than the 
rest, exclaimed, " Take care how you make a 
jest of our horns and trumpets, the clangor of 
which has, for so many years, caused every 
limb of you Spaniards to tremble." The horrid 
murmuring of the whole people and their 
threatening looks portended danger to the 
Vice-Governor, who, to conciliate their enraged 
minds, adroitly altered his tone, commending 
the Abipones, instead of satirizing them, as I 



h.i' t 



298 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



warned him by signs. To flattery he added 
plenty of promises, (to which he never stood,) 
saying that another expedition against the 
Guaranies prevented him from giving them 
satisfaction at that time, but that as soon as 
the present war was finished, he would go out 
against the Mocobios, with some companies of 
horse. Having said this, he hastened back to 
the city under pretext of business, his coming 
having served no other end than that of irri- 
tating still further the minds of the Indians. No 
one could suggest any remedy for the afflicted 
colony which seemed sinking to ruin: amid 
continual attacks from the savages, or the 
apprehension of them, years passed away — 
years barren of comfort, but fruitful of mis- 
fortunes. Yet still more pernicious than any 
foreign foe was the unfortunate society of 
Debayakaikin's Abipones, both to the improve- 
ment and domestic affairs of the town ; induced 
by their examples, or relying on their support, 
our Yaaukanigas frequently dared to make 
inroads into the lands of Cordoba, Sta. F^, and 
Asumpcion, where, though they committed no 
slaughter, they carried off droves of horses. 
With still greater boldness, they annoyed the 
neighbouring towns of the Guaranies, by whose 
liberality chiefly they were clothed and fed. 
These predatory incursions we condemned, 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



299 



forbade, and lamented, but had not the power 
to prevent. They never did any mischief, 
however, to the territory of Corrientes. 
After the departure of Debayakaikin, many of 
his hordesmen remained in the town of St. 
Ferdinand, others joined the horde of Oaher- 
kaikin, who had long established himself in a 
neighbouring plain, almost in sight of the town. 
No tears can sufficiently deplore, nor words 
express the injury which the morals of the 
Yaaukanigas sustained from the vicinity of these 
plunderers, and the mischief they did to our 
little estate. One of this savage rabble, more 
rapacious than the rest, made greater havock 
amongst the herds than any tiger, and no means 
of restraining his robberies could be adopted, 
whilst our Yaaukanigas, ever friendly to Oaher- 
kaikin, sometimes abetted, sometimes con- 
cealed them. The Vice-Governor, when in- 
formed of the affair, durst not utter a word 
of reproof to this chief of the plunderers, 
who was impudently sitting by his side in our 
house, but endeavoured to conciliate him by 
civil speeches. If Spanish generals, accom- 
panied by soldiers, are dumb through fear, 
when they ought to reproach the savages 
with their wickedness, who can wonder if the 
Fathers, destitute of all human aid, and given 
up to the power of the savages, were afraid to 



300 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 




treat their errors with too much severity ? Yet 
despising death we overcame fear, and when any 
thing improper met our observation, reprehend- 
ed it, if reprehension seemed likely to be of 
any avail. Take one example out of many 
which might be related of the men of our 
order. Father Klein, with his usual fearless- 
ness, advised a young man of high family 
amongst the Yaaukanigas to refrain from in- 
cursions against the Spaniards, when the fero- 
cious youth dashed a club at his head with such 
force that he fell swooning to the ground 
covered with his own blood. Not one of the 
Spaniards who were there, not one of the Abi- 
pones, durst lay hands on the perpetrator of 
this sacrilegious blow: he went unpunished. 
Another Yaaukaniga struck the same Father 
with his list, crying, *' It is a fable what you 
tell us about a God who created all things." 

The estate was exhausted by the continual 
rapacity of these plunderers, and scarcely con- 
tained oxen sufficient to feed the Indians for 
two months. I declared in presence of the 
Vice-Governor that we should soon be forced to 
desert the colony from want of cattle, but he 
entreated me not to think of such a thing, say- 
ing, " If you depart, and suffer the Yaaukanigas 
to do the same, the malicious will say you have 
done so with the intention of involving us Spa- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



301 



niards anew in the calamities of war." " Na 
one," replied I, " would be so foolish as to 
credit such a calumny. We cannot confine the 
savages within the limits of a little town, nor 
restrain them from their habit of wandering, 
unless we have plenty of provision at home." 
The Vice-Go vernor, convinced, or more probaWy 
alarmed by this speech, promised many things 
for the preservation of the colony, and had his 
powers corresponded to his wishes, this ex- 
cellent man would doubtless have fulfilled his- 
promises. The Provincial, informed by me of 
the ruin which threatened the colony from want 
of cattle, immediately sent me a thousand oxen, 
for the support of the Indians : by his liberality, 
and the supplies of the Guarany towns, an 
estate was founded on the opposite shore of the 
Parana, which, not being exposed to predatory 
incursions, abounded in cattle of every kind in 
the space of a few years. 

One thing is certain, that this colony of 
Yaaukanigas was not preserved by the support 
of the Spaniards, but chiefly by the vigilance 
and industry of the Jesuits, and that it was 
little indebted for assistance to the city of 
Corrientes, which, on the other hand, derived 
much advantage from it, remaining unmolested, 
from the time of its commencement, by the 
inroads of the savages dwelling in Chaco, 



302 



ill 
'if 



«(: 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Moreover the Corrientines, reduced almost to 
desperation by long war, were enabled to build 
ships, and waggons on the opposite shore of 
the river on which our colony stood, and which 
abounds in most excellent trees, and to enrich 
themselves by commerce without danger. In 
the year 1767, when we returned to Europe, 
the number of Christian Yaaukanigas was two 
hundred, the rest having died of small-pox and 
other diseases. The survivors, exasperated at 
the Spaniards on account of our banishment, 
burnt the church and the houses of the Fathers to 
ashes, deserted the colony they had inhabited 
for seventeen years, and returned to their 
ancient retreats and their old habits of plunder- 
ing. A priest of the order of St. Francis, who 
had been substituted in our stead, scarce pre- 
served his life by flying to the city. So un- 
fortunate was the event of a colony that had 
cost us so much labour and misery, an event 
highly pernicious to the Corrientines and other 
Spaniards, against whom the Indians resumed 
their arms, soon after quitting the colony. 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



303 



CHAPTER XXXV. 



THE ORIGIN AND SITUATION OF A COLONY OF ABIPONES 
NAMED FROM S. CARLOS AND THE ROSARY. 

That the corruption of one thing is the gene- 
ration of another, and that insects are created 
from putrid substances is affirmed by some 
naturalists and denied by others, but certainly 
such was the origin of this colony ; for it was 
composed of Abipones who had deserted reli- 
gion, and the other towns. Weary of Christian 
discipline, and of the inactivity of peace, they 
for some time vexed the territories of the Spa- 
niards and Guaranies with slaughter and rapine : 
but seeing themselves threatened, both behind 
and before, with avenging arms, and being un- 
able to discover any place of retreat where they 
might conceal themselves from Ychoalay, they 
provided for their safety by artifice, since they 
could not secure it by force of arms. Three 
orators were sent to Asumpcion to petition, in 
the name of the rest, for a colony, and priests 
to instruct them in religion. The Governor, 
Martinez Fontez, granted the request of these 
wily legates with the utmost willingness, 
flattering himself that he should gain great 



304 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



favour with the King by founding this colony. 
Fulgentio de Yegros, a Paraguayrian com- 
mander, wonderfully approved the Governor's 
purpose, urged the execution of it, and bestowed 
a great many caresses on the Abiponian depu- 
ties. The other more prudent Spaniards 
strongly opposed the design, truly observing : 
"These rascally Abipones, the dregs of the 
whole nation, come hither from the fear of 
punishment, not from the desire of embracing 
religion : it is not a colony, but an asylum 
where they may commit crimes with impunity, 
that they seek amongst the Spaniards; and 
even if this were not the case, a province so 
indigent in every respect as this, cannot afford 
the supplies necessary for founding and preser- 
ving such a colony." The same was the opinion 
of all the Jesuits. Eager for glory, the Governor 
turned a deaf ear to all these remonstrances. 
By his order the people were convoked to 
the market-place of the city, that each might 
voluntarily contribute something for the colony, 
according to his means. Some promised sheep 
and oxen ; others horses, or Paraguay tea ; the 
less opulent, axes, knives, and the other articles 
of domestic furniture : and were there not as 
wide a difference between gifts and promises, 
as there is between words and deeds, the colony 
would have been amply provided for. But, to 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



305 



use a Spanish proverb, miicho era el nddo^ pero 
pocas las nueces : great was the noise, but few 
were the nuts.' Many evaded the performance 
of their promises altogether ; others impudently 
sent aged cows; lame, lean, and dying horses; 
old, bare, and diseased sheep ; and every thing- 
else in the same style. Many of those persons 
whom the Governor employed in collecting or 
keeping the cattle and other things, were defi- 
cient either in fidelity or in diligence, reserving 
some for their own private use, and exchanging 
the better ones, which they kept to themselves, 
for others of less value. It therefore is not to 
be wondered at that the whole of Paraguay did 
not contain a more indigent or calamitous co- 
lony, of which I, who was forced to struggle, 
for two years, with extreme poverty, and the 
insolence of these savages, had full and ocular 
demonstration. 

The Abipones, solicitous for their security 
above all things, themselves pointed out a 
situation for the colony, seventy leagues south 
of Asumpcion, four leagues distant from the 
western shore of the Paraguay, and beset with 
woods, rivers, and marshes, which rendered it 
difficult of access to the Spaniards, who had to 
cross that vast river whenever they approached 
it from their own city. This plain is called 

VOL. in. X 



306 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Timbd in the Guarany tongue, from a tree of 
that name which abounds here ; by some it has 
been named La Herradura, or the horse-shoe, 
because the river Paraguay, being forced into a 
curve by the interjection of an island, presents, 
in this place, the appearance of a horse-shoe. 
Besides this, two tolerably large rivers, (both 
having salt waters,) flow past the spot where the 
colony stood, and uniting, in sight of it, into 
one channel, form a large lake which afterwards 
discharges itself into the Paraguay. After a 
long drought, you can seldom find any fresh 
water, or any of the larger kind of fish, in this 
labyrinth of waters ; innumerable crocodiles, by 
which the fish are either consumed or kept 
away, are every where to be seen. In the 
desire of concealment, however, the Abipones 
pitched upon this incommodious situation, 
which the Tobas lay claim to : and the Spa- 
niards willingly ratified their choice, because 
their enemies, the Mocobios and Tobas, used 
generally to cross the Paraguay in this place, 
when they made their excursions against the 
Paraguayrians. 

In this sequestered place, the Abipones were 
ordered to remain, till things being properly 
settled, and priests appointed, a little town 
should be built there. In the mean time, oxen 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



307 



were given them for their support, .yet they still 
continued to drive vast herds of horses from 
the estates of Sta. F^ and St. Jeronymo: but 
Ychoalay, accompanied with a troop of horse, 
surprized this horde of thieves by night, and 
carried off all the horses they had plundered ; 
irritated by which nocturnal assault, they in- 
dustriously made up for the loss by repeated 
rapine. Fulgentio de Yegros visited these 
Abipones with a numerous band of soldiers, for 
the purpose of making a dwelling-house for the 
expected priests. After staying two days 
there, and consuming an incredible number of 
the oxen intended for the use of the colony, 
the soldiers built only two little huts, so narrow 
and low, and so badly constructed, of wood and 
mud, that the Governor himself pronounced 
them absolutely uninhabitable. 

The Jesuit Contucci, at that time Provincial 
and Visitor of Paraguay, being ordered, in the 
King's name, to appoint priests for the new 
colony, after consulting those persons who 
were best acquainted with the affairs of the 
province, conferred this charge upon me, on 
account of my acquaintance with the Abi- 
ponian tongue. I was therefore called to the 
Guarany town of Sta. Rosa, where the Pro- 
vincial resided, on business of the colony, and 

x2 



308 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



' soon afterwards ordered to hasten to the 
metropolis, where I had to wait from the 
28th of August till the 24th of November, 
whilst the Governor was preparing every thing 
necessary for beginning the colony. 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



309 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 



COMMENCEMENT OF THE COLONY, 

The Governor distinguished the colony he 
was founding with the name of S. Carlos and 
the Rosary, that he might at the same time 
show his piety to the Virgin Mary, and ingra- 
tiate himself with Carlos the Third, King of 
Spain. He and I embarked on the 24th of 
November, 1763, and were saluted with guns 
on the banks of the Paraguay. Our company 
consisted of four hundred provincial soldiers ; 
Fulgentio de Yegros conducted the cavalry by 
land, and the rest of the infantry were dis- 
tributed into three ships and came with us. 
We went on shore every night, and at mid-day 
also, whenever we found a convenient landing- 
place. The Paraguay abounds in shoals and 
hidden rocks, yet the danger arising from them 
was not so great as the inconvenience occa- 
sioned by innumerable gnats, during our ten 
days' voyage. Fulgentio de Yegros, with his 
company of horse, awaited us at a place called 
Passo del Timb6. On our landing, crowds of 
Abipones swam from the opposite shore, which 
they inhabited, to salute us. Some hundred 

X 3 



310 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES.' 



oxen, with the horses of the Spaniards, were 
sent over to us on the other side of the 
river. We spent three days in the same place, 
engaged in the business of crossing, and then 
pursued our voyage. About sun-set, a tempest 
arose, with loud thunder and stormy wind. 
Though we had entered the lake which serves 
as a port there, we were miserably tost about 
by the waves for many hours. This tempest 
was succeeded by heavy rain, which lasted 
three days, and confined us within the narrow 
limits of the ship ; during this interval, we 
amused ourselves with watching the huge 
crocodiles that surrounded the vessel. The 
spot appointed for the colony was a league 
distant from the port ; thither I went, on foot, 
and alone, from eagerness to take a view of the 
situation. The whole plain was deluged with 
water. Having taken an entire survey, I re- 
turned to the ship, and informed the Governor 
that the situation appointed for the colony 
appeared to me to be fitter for frogs than men, 
and that no kind of good grain was produced 
in the country. 

Next day, leaving guards for the security of 
the ship, we rode out to the place in question. 
The small hut which Fulgentio de Yegros had 
constructed for the two priests, was at first 
sight pronounced uninhabitable by the Gover- 



I 

1 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



an 



nor, under whose inspection another, some- 
what larger, but in no other respect superior, 
was hastily built by the soldiers. Europeans 
will not be displeased to hear how these huts 
are constructed. Stakes are driven very deep 
into the ground, and reeds or withes fastened to 
them with twigs or thongs of leather. The 
empty spaces between each row of reeds are 
filled up with pieces of wood, or small bricks, 
on to which mud, well worked up with straw, 
and cow's dung, is plastered. The Spaniards 
call this sort of fabric a French wall, (tapia 
Fran^esa) and always adopt it when stones or 
bricks are scarce. If it is properly made, and 
whitewashed with lime or tobati, it will last, 
and can hardly be distinguished from a common 
wall. The grassy ground is the floor of the 
apartment. In this manner the cottages and 
chapels were generally constructed in the 
colonies of the savages. You shall now hear 
how they are roofed. The trunks of the 
caranday palms cut in half and hollowed out 
serve instead of slates or tiles. Frequently a roof 
is made with bundles of long dry grass tied to 
reeds placed underneath, in the same manner as, 
in other places, thatch is made of straw, which 
is not to be had in Paraguay ; for the reapers 
cut down nothing but the ear of wheat, after- 
wards burning the stalk or stubble, the ashes of 

x4 



312 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



which serve instead of manure to fertilize the soil. 
Sometimes houses are covered with bundles of 
dry grass, rolled in soft mud, cemented together, 
and thus secure from being set on fire by the 
burning arrows of the savages. In the colony 
of the Rosary I found that roofs of this kind, 
though they afford some protection against fire, 
are not of the least use in excluding rain : for 
the mud with which the dry grass is plastered, 
gets so much softened by long rain, and affords 
such free access to heavy showers, that it seems 
to rain harder within doors than without. In 
short, the house built for me by the soldiers 
was hardly of any use : for the thongs, which 
they had formed of wet raw hides, soon putrC' 
fying, the reeds and mud plastered on them 
fell off, leaving the stakes quite bare ; so that 
my hut presented the appearance of a bird- 
coop, but was afterwards laboriously repaired 
and rendered habitable by myself and my com- 
panion, I strengthened that side of the wall' 
which looks towards the stormy south, with a 
plaster composed of mud, and the blood of 
oxen, which repels water like pitch. The 
chapel was very small, and entirely unorna- 
mented ; some of my own handy- work impart- 
ed a little degree of elegance to the altar. 

The palisade of our house, which is necessary 
in every colony to defend it against the assaults 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



313 



of the savages, had been very negligently made 
by the soldiers, who were in such a hurry to 
get home that they left nothing finished. The 
Governor was equally desirous to return to 
the city : he could take no rest here : thick 
swarms of gnats tormented him with their 
stings ; but a still worse grievance was the 
anxiety that preyed upon his mind lest they 
should be surprized by a sudden attack of the 
savages. Horsemen were therefore kept watch- 
ing day and night, and at the door of his own 
hut he stationed a foot company of guards, 
besides four cannon ; in the hut itself he kept 
forty large muskets, and some smaller ones, 
ready to be fired in a moment. So that he 
distrusted those very Abipones for whom he 
was founding the colony ; and the feeling was 
mutual ; for they, ever suspicious of the friend- 
ship of the Spaniards, thought themselves 
justified in their fears since the Governor had 
brought so many soldiers, and so few oxen to 
feed them on. "What need," said they, "of 
four hundred soldiers ? Had no hostilities been 
intended against us, one hundred would have 
been more than sufficient. If he was resolved 
upon building a colony in this place, why did 
he not send more than three hundred oxen ? 
The Spaniards will consume these, and what 
will they leave for us ?" That they might not 




314 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



therefore be exposed to the treachery of the 
Spaniards, they pitched their tents three mile& 
distant from iis, in a place with a wood on one 
side, a river on the other, and a mound in front. 
It was in vain that I endeavoured to argue 
them out of these foolish fears, and I was equally 
unsuccessful in my attempts to tranquillize the 
suspicious mind of the Governor; who took 
every fly for an enemy, as what I am going to 
relate will sufficiently prove. Six Yaaukaniga 
youths came from St. Ferdinand to see the new 
colony. At my desire they immediately ac- 
companied me unarmed to the Governor, and 
kissed his hands with great civility and respect. 
He, terrified at the appearance of these new 
guests, whom he mistook for enemies, or 
emissaries of the enemy, ordered all the guards 
to stand ready in arms, and after passing the 
night in the greatest anxiety, purified his soul 
by confessing to me early in the morning, and 
receiving the sacrament at my hands. On 
leaving the chapel, he informed me that he was 
going to depart immediately with all his people ; 
and before noon, having hastily settled his 
affairs, he set off on what appeared more like a 
flight than a journey. The Abipones, receiving 
intelligence of this, flew from their tents, and 
hastened with all speed to the harbour to take 
leave of the Governor, whom they found already 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



315 



seated in the vessel, and who, interpreting this 
officious journey as a hostile pursuit, ordered 
the ship to be put from shore in such a hurry, 
that he left behind him a waggon which was to 
have been carried back to the city. A brave 
man in other respects, but a novice amongst the 
American savages, and well aware of the un- 
steadiness of their friendship, and the uncei^- 
tainty of their faith, he may be deemed ex- 
cusable in preferring fear and caution to risking 
his life. 



316 



HISTORY OF THE yVBIPONES. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



EXTREME INDIGENCE OF THE COLONY, AND ITS VARIOUS 

CALAMITIES. 

The Rosary, as it had been unaptly named, 
was, from its very outset, the most thorny of 
all colonies. All the Spaniards being departed 
with the Governor, I was left entirely in the 
power of the Abipones, and of the hostile 
savages who infested the neighbourhood ; yet, 
depending on the protection of the Almighty 
alone, I never felt myself more secure. There 
was no colony of Christians within thirty leagues 
of us, from which we could expect succour 
against the hostile troops of Mocobios, Tobas, 
and Guaycurus, whose hordes were so near that 
the smoke of them could be discerned from our 
colony. My Abipones for some time obsti- 
nately refused to remove their tents to the 
situation appointed for the colony. The sudden 
departure of the Governor was the origin of this 
refusal and of a hundred suspicions, — " The 
Spaniards departed to-day," said they, " per- 
haps in the intention of returning to-morrow to 
murder us, when they hear that we are settled 
in the open plain." Seeing no houses built for 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



317 



them, as usual in other colonies, they took oc- 
casion to suspect every thing that was bad. 
Three days I spent unaccompanied, at the end 
of which, by much persuasion, I prevailed upon 
the Abipones to quit their retreat, and remove 
to the place where I was. They learnt from 
their spies that the Spaniards were at a great 
distance, and being delivered from their suspi- 
cions at length became more tranquil. 

Wherever I turned my eyes I found neces- 
saries wanting for myself and the Indians, with- 
out which life could not be supported nor the 
colony preserved. Almost all the sheep which 
the Spaniards contributed were useless from 
age and disease, and the falling off of their 
wool; indeed most of them died whilst the 
Governor was there, so that all prospect of ob- 
taining wool from them to clothe the Indians 
entirely disappeared. The very lean and indif- 
ferent beef which was our principal and almost 
only food, afforded the Indians daily subject of 
complaint. The oxen, which were sent from 
the remote estates of the Spaniards, at intervals 
of a year, arrived emaciated, and half dead from 
the length of the journey, and, as no others re- 
mained, were immediately slain, without being 
left time to fatten. Their flesh, either boiled 
or roasted, was devoid of all taste and moisture, 
and better adapted to disgust than refresh the 




dm HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 

stomach. For my part, I loathed it so much, 
that during many months I tasted no other food 
than boiled cows' feet, though destitute of bread 
or any vegetables. 

Fulgentio de Yegros had established a little 
estate for the use of the colony on the oppo- 
site shore of the river, but its pastures were 
by no means fertile, and so poorly was it fur- 
nished with cattle, that they scarce sufficed 
to feed the Abipones; consequently very few 
could be left to breed. The man sent by Ful- 
gentio to guard the cattle was an infamous 
wretch, composed of nothing but fraud and 
falsehood, who used to slay the fattest cows for 
his own use, and sell the fat and suet to the Spa- 
niards, whilst we in the colony were suffering 
the greatest want of both. He also fatigued the 
horses of the colony by hunting with them, or 
lending them to others for the same purpose, as 
if they were entirely at his disposal. I often 
accused him to the Governor, but he was never 
punished, though convicted of innumerable 
thefts. The man whom Fulgentio appointed to su- 
persede him was honest, but not quite sane : he 
was agitated by continual terrors, and wherever 
he was, imagined that stones were being thrown 
at him by some unknown hand, even in the 
middle of the day. What diligence or accuracy 
could be expected from such a person in ma- 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



319 



' mi'i 



naging the estate ? Our never having a proper 
guard for the cattle was the chief origin of all 
our miseries: for the Abipones think nothing 
wanting to their felicity if they have plenty 
of good meat, but if that be not the case will 
never rest easy in the colony. 

It may also be reckoned amongst our misfor- 
tunes, that as the estate was on the opposite 
shore of the Paraguay, we had to convey across 
that vast river all the oxen necessary for our 
support. A ship, strong horses, dexterous 
horsemen, and much industry were requisite to 
effect that without the loss of many oxen.- 

Maize, and various kinds of beans, roots, and 
melons, serve the Indians as a seasoning, or 
substitute for meat: I therefore exhorted the 
Abipones to cultivate the ground, but agri- 
cultural implements were wanting; we had 
scarcely any oxen fit for the plough ; and were 
even unprovided with a supply of seed for sow- 
ing. Some bushels of maize were sent from 
the city, but they had been terribly gnawed 
by the worms ; also a sack of beans, in coming' 
from thence, had been wetted in the river from 
the carelessness of the sailors, and had already 
pushed out shoots. Who would believe that 
the neighbouring savages, our former enemies, 
supplied us with various kinds of seeds, which 
we had so long and vainly sought from the 



320 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



Spaniards ? The country itself^ as I declared 
at first sight, was unfavourable to plants, be- 
cause it abounded in chalk. After much rain, 
it bore the appearance of a lake — when the 
waters subsided it became as hard and dry as a 
stone. Notwithstanding this, the Abipones did 
plough and sow great part of it, but they lost 
their labour; in the woods, however, where 
the soil is more fertile, and the sun's heat kept 
off by the shade of the trees, they reaped an 
abundant and easily-earned harvest of various 
fruits. I found the soil extremely favourable to 
the tobacco which I planted, but could never 
find a situation fit for sowing cotton. The alfa- 
roba was only to be found in distant forests, but 
the want of it was supplied by abundance of 
honey. Other fruits, which grow quite com- 
mon elsewhere, are extremely scarce here. The 
country near the shore abounds in stags, deer, 
and emus, the neighbouring rivers in crocodiles, 
water-wolves, and capibaris, but are mostly 
destitute of fish. It is a remarkable circum- 
stance, that the river near the colony swarmed, 
for some days, with every kind of fish, which 
were easily caught with the hand, as they swiftly 
hurried down the stream : they are thought to 
have been conveyed into this river by interme- 
diate pools, from the Rio Grande, at the time of 
the annual flood. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



321 



But it is quite clear to me, that the penury of 
the colony was not so much owing to the nature 
of the situation, as to the indigence of the 
founders. The other Fathers, who were sent to 
instruct the savages, received from the Governors 
and opulent citizens a plentiful supply of linen 
and woollen cloth, glass-beads, knives, scissars, 
rings, needles, hooks, ear-rings, &c. baits by 
which both the eyes and minds of the savages 
are taken. When I set off to found the colony, 
not so much as a pin was given me in the city 
of Asumpcion. The Spaniards of Sta. F^ and 
St. lago supplied the Fathers with choice horses 
when they went to a new colony. The Spa- 
niards of Asumpcion, on the contrary, robbed 
me of four excellent horses, for which I was in- 
debted to the kindness of the Jesuits in the 
Guarany towns : yet the Governor neither made 
any enquiry after the thieves, nor indemnified 
me for the loss. Great scarcity almost always 
prevailed in the colony, because the supplies, 
which the Spaniards engaged themselves to pay, 
were very seldom and very sparingly sent, or, 
being brought by sailors, were long in reaching 
us, or were destroyed on the way from want of 
care. No assistance could be expected from 
the Guarany towns, which were so beneficial to 
other colonies, both on account of their dis- 
tance and the calamities of that period. The 

VOL. III. Y 




■^ 



■t'-'i. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



323 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 



CONTINUAL TUMULTS OF WAR. 

To our other miseries were added perpetual war- 
like commotions. The new Governor, Martinez, 
to ingratiate himself with the King, resolved 
upon sending two hundred soldiers against the 
neighbouring hordes of Mocobios and Tobas, 
out of those four hundred which had been 
chosen to found the colony. On his consulting 
with me, I dissuaded him from an expedition, 
the event of which appeared so uncertain, lest 
the new colony, which was but poorly stocked 
with inhabitants, should be involved in war, and 
perish in its infancy. With the same ardour I 
recommended it to my Abipones religiously to 
maintain peace with all ; they, however, never 
had either power or inclination to continue in a 
state of quiescence. One tumult succeeded to 
another. Soon after the colony was founded, 
Ychoalay came, and in a friendly manner desired 
restitution of the horses lately taken from him. 
Enraged at receiving a refusal, he set off, with a 
chosen band of his people, to recover them by 
force. My Abipones, rendered obstinate by their 
inveterate hatred to Ychoalay, determined to 

Y 2 



324 



HISTORY OF THE ABl PONES. 



withstand him to the utmost. Some employed 
themselves in conveying the horses to a place of 
greater safety, that they might not be seized by 
the enemy ; w^hilst others roamed up and down 
the woods, seeking honey to make mead. I, 
meantime, was a prey to anxious cares, igno- 
rant what course to pursue when the town should 
be attacked. Ychoalay, formerly so much my 
friend, was now become the most dreadful of 
enemies. ** It would be wrong," thought I, 
** to take up arms against one who is only com- 
ing to recover his own; but if, as is most likely, 
victory declares in his favour, and he puts to death 
every inhabitant that comes in his way, unless 
I discharge upon Ychoalay all the lead and gun- 
powder I have in the house, my Abipones will 
suspect me of having acted in collusion with 
him, and will pierce me with spears and ar- 
rows." Suspended by these reflections, I stuck, 
as it were, between the hammer and the anvil, 
and resolved to do what should seem most ad- 
visable at the time. 

But all this danger was warded from us by 
a gracious Providence : for as Ychoalay was 
quickly travelling towards us, he fell in with a 
numerous horde of hostile Nakaiketergehe Abi- 
pones. A sharp skirmish ensued, which did not 
terminate without wounds and slaughter on both 
sides. Ychoalay had ten of his men wounded ; 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOTsTES. 



325 



and, that they might be the sooner and more 
certamly cured, hastened home, omitting the 
intended attack upon our colony, which was 
construed into a mark of fear by the inhabi- 
tants, and accordingly celebrated as a triumph 
with songs and drinking. The survivors of that 
routed horde took refuge, part with us, part in 
the town of St. Ferdinand, and showing their 
unhealed wounds, endeavoured, by that sight, 
to inflame their companions, who needed no 
such incitement, to speedy and effectual ven- 
geance. Almost all immediately conspired 
against Ychoalay . A great company was formed 
of Yaaukaniga and Nakaiketergehe Abipones, 
who all set off to the town of St. Jeronymo, and 
that the blow might descend upon Ychoalay 
with the greater certainty from its being unfore- 
seen, they gave out that their object was to 
hunt horses in the southern plains. But all 
these hopes and machinations came to nothing. 
By those very people, whom it was their intent 
to surprize and utterly exterminate, they were 
themselves surprized, partly slain, and partly 
put to flight. For, near St. Jeronymo, whilst, 
having left their saddles and supernumerary 
horses in a place called Tiger s Cave, and got 
their faces ready painted, they were meditating 
an assault upon the town, they fell in with 
Ychoalay, accompanied by a great number of 

Y 3 



' I'lfii' ! 



326 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 




his own lliikahes, of Christian Mocobios, and 
of Spanish horsemen, all delighted to have in 
their presence those whom they had that day- 
set out to seek and slay in their retreats. Ychoa- 
lay could easily have destroyed this multitude 
of enemies, had they not preferred flight to 
combat. The fugitives owed their lives to the 
swiftness of their horses, to the ruggedness of 
the ways, and the lurking-holes of the forests; 
many however were slain, taken, and wounded 
by the pursuers. Ychoalay drove them before 
him to the town of St. Ferdinand, and being- 
rendered formidable by the number of his fel- 
low-soldiers, spread terror on all sides. The 
Nakaiketergehes, conspired to his destruction, 
though they saw their last efforts unaccom- 
panied with success, conceived new hatred 
against him ; and as in repeated skirmishes they 
failed to take away his life, consoled themselves 
with plundering him of innumerable horses. It 
cannot be matter of surprize that this nation 
entertained hostile feelings to Ychoalay, the 
slayer of their chief Cacique Debayakaikin, 
whose four sons dwelt in their colony, and whose 
hordesmen and fellow- soldiers, all but a very 
few of them had been. 

Beside these intestine wars, the proximity of 
the Mocobios, Tobas, and Guaycurus, was al- 
ways dangerous, and often exceedingly preju- 




HISTdRY OF THE ABIPONES. 



327 



dicial to us. These savage nations, distin- 
guished by their numbers and their power of 
doing mischief, contended that the plain which 
the colony occupied belonged to them, and had 
never been inhabited by Abipones. They feared 
and suspected the inhabitants of a colony which 
they knew to be in subjection to the Spaniards, 
and left no stone unturned to drive them from 
their new situation, which they endeavoured to 
effect sometimes by arts, sometimes by arms. 
Pretending peace and friendship, crowds of 
them came to visit our town, seemingly for the 
sake of civility, and were hospitably received 
by us, entertained for some days, and treated 
with little presents and plenty of beef. But 
abusing our kindness, though closely watched 
by me, they availed themselves of the opportu- 
nity to observe the number of inhabitants fit to 
bear arms, the pastures of the horses, and all 
the ways and means of access ; aided by which 
knowledge, they afterwards flew, whenever it 
suited them, to alarm the colony, and to plunder 
horses, though this our vigilance generally pre- 
vented them from accomplishing. The frequent 
and secret hostilities of the savages caused us 
an immense deal of trouble ; as we were often 
obliged to pass the night awake and in arms, 
for fear of the Oaekakalots, who, unlike other 
tribes, made their attacks in the night ; and as 

Y 4 



rl\:,\ 



If,::'': I' 



111!" 



328 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



no one could go out to hunt, or perform any 
other business, in the remoter plains or woods, 
on account of their being infested by the savages. 
That they might not start, on a sudden, from a 
neighbouring wood, and surprize the colony, I 
had an observatory erected in our court-yard, 
which proved of signal utility. Let me now 
relate some of the attempts made upon us by 
our savage neighbours. 



i!#. 



*"( 



U 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



329 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



VARIOUS INCURSIONS OF THE MOCOBIOS AND TOBAS. 

All places being full of peril and fear, and ex- 
posed to the machinations of the enemy, many 
of the Abipones, weary of a life embittered in 
so many ways, crossed the river with their fa- 
milies, and went to the estate of Fulgentio de 
Yegros, who received them with great pleasure, 
and usefully employed them in his service. 
The women were occupied in shearing sheep 
and spinning the wool; the men in guarding 
cattle, and other rural tasks ; receiving, as the 
best recompense that could be given them, 
abundance of beef. Very few, meantime, re- 
mained with me in the colony. This was thought 
a good opportunity for an attack by the Moco- 
bios and their allies, and indeed our destruction 
would have been inevitable, had I not provi- 
dentially abstained from my usual custom of 
sleeping in the afternoon. The particulars of 
the affair deserve to be related : — I had gone on 
foot, and alone, to the bank of the river to 
try the new boats and rowers, and that I did 
not fall asleep on my return, after being fa- 
tigued with three hours' walking in the heat of 



aiy 




330 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



V' 



m 



the sun, can only be attributed to heavenly in- 
terposition. At two o'clock in the afternoon, a 
boy who was sitting on the steps of the obser- 
vatory suddenly exclaimed, " The savages are 
coming !" As I was walking in the yard, I spied 
a troop of Mocobios, who presented themselves 
in the market-place, armed and painted, as for a 
battle, disposed in regular ranks, and unaccom- 
panied with any women or children ; all which 
betokened hostile intentions. The boy I men- 
tioned, with six old women and a lame Abipon, 
were the only persons that remained with me in 
the town. Snatching up my arms, and guard- 
ing the door, I performed the part both of com- 
mander and garrison ; and, little as I am, was 
more than sufficient to terrify so many horse- 
men. As soon as ever they saw me present the 
musket they turned their backs, and slowly re- 
ceding through the market-place, sat down in a 
little wood near the tents of the Abipones. 
Aware that the Americans supply by craftiness 
any defect in courage, and that they often re- 
new the attack when their adversaries imagine 
them completely intimidated, and on their re- 
turn home, I remained armed in the same place, 
and kept an eye on their motions. When a 
quarter of an hour had elapsed in this manner, 
I approached the Mocobios on foot, and with 
no one but the boy for my companion, to ascer- 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



331 



tain whether they were to be considered as 
friends or foes. I accosted them unarmed, but 
received very laconic replies to the questions I 
put them ; and their sullen and threatening- 
looks discovered that they were ill-disposed to- 
wards us. As we were conversing, a quantity 
of smoke rose up in that part of the shore where 
the Spaniards cross the Paraguay ; being asked 
by the Mocobian Cacique whence or from 
whom I thought that fire proceeded ; I replied 
from the Spaniards ; and that I was in expecta- 
tion of two hundred soldiers, whom the Go- 
vernor had promised to send to build houses in 
the colony. Struck with this news, the savages 
were afraid to execute what they had planned to 
our destruction, fearing that any acts of hostility 
perpetrated by them would be avenged by the 
Spanish horsemen, whom they thought approach- 
ing. At this conjuncture a cloud of dust ap- 
peared in that direction by which the Mocobios 
had come, and by the shining of their spears, 
we knew the savage - horsemen ; perceiving 
which, the Mocobios instantly leapt on to their 
horses ; an additional proof of their evil inten- 
tions. The boy pulled my gown, saying, *' Let 
us go, Father, lest we be taken ;" and indeed I 
began to entertain the same apprehension my- 
self. Civilly taking leave of the Mocobios, I 
returned home with slow steps, to avoid betray- 



332 



HISTORY OF THE AEIPONES. 



ing my suspicions, and resuming my weapons, 
posted myself at the door, and awaited the 
event. 

Without delay a numerous company of Tobas, 
headed by Cacique Keebetavalkin, drew out in 
the market-place. All were laden with arms of 
every description, and painted with dark co- 
lours ; but without saying a word about the 
occasion of their coming, they sent their horses 
to pasture, and sat down to pass the night with 
the troop of Mocobios. I approached, and ac- 
costed these new comers, unfurnished with 
weapons of any sort, bearing myself towards 
them altogether as towards friends, though they 
could not, in any light, be accounted other than 
enemies, certain to do us a mischief, unless we 
conducted ourselves towards them with great 
liberality and caution. I took care to have an 
ox immediately slain for their supper, from the 
same motive that one would stroke an unruly 
horse, or throw a piece of meat to a surly mas- 
tiff. Not to be quite unprepared for treachery 
on their part, we passed a sleepless night, keep- 
ing the strictest watch both with our eyes and ears, 
and holding our weapons in readiness to repel 
violence were it offered. I performed divine 
service early in the morning, without ringing of 
bells, and with the greatest quietness, lest the 
savages, discovering that I was engaged at the 






HISTOliV OF THE ABl PONES. 



333 



altar, and being thus delivered from their appre- 
hension of the musket, should attempt hostilities 
against us with impunity. All my precautions, 
however, proved unavailing; for a crowd of 
savages surrounded me as I was pronouncing 
the formula of the divine consecration. A 
Mocobian juggler stole in first by a door 
adjoining the altar. After standing awhile 
behind me, he jumped back several times to 
his companions, who were near the door, 
making mimic gestures, and tossing about his 
arms in a ridiculous manner. They conversed 
together for some time by signs. Imagine 
what must have been the state of my mind in 
this interim — I expected death every moment. 
Having accurately performed divine service to 
the end, I presented the savages, as if they had 
politely come to visit me, with any little gifts 
that were at hand, but failed to elicit from 
them what their intentions were, though I could 
not but suspect them to be of the very worst 
nature ; for they examined every corner of my 
house, impudently attempted, in my presence, 
to pull up the stakes with which it was sur- 
rounded, and tried whether they could burst 
open the wooden door of the chapel with their 
shoulders. Meanwhile, I smilingly looked on, 
and took especial care to prevent the suspicions 
of my mind from appearing in my countenance ; 



I:;... 



W'fi 



m^i''' 



334 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



knowing that the greatest coward is inspired 
with courage if he perceives himself an object 
of terror. I boasted of our intrepidity and 
skill in archery, displayed a store of arms, and 
a variety of leaden bullets, and descanted upon 
the wonderful power of the musket, which 
reaches the most distant objects, and penetrates 
and demolishes the hardest substances. The 
Governor, on leaving the colony, had given me, 
for the defence of the inhabitants, one of those 
very small cannon which are fixed to the prows 
of ships; to load this, he had furnished me 
with eight charges of gunpowder, fifteen bullets, 
but only one iron ball, weighing scarce half 
a pound, which, to deprive them of all incli- 
nation to assault the colony, I gave to , the 
savages to handle and look at. When they 
came to visit me in my apartment, *' Oh, how 
heavy it is," they exclaimed : " what a hole it 
would make in a man's body!" 

By these artifices, I induced the Mocobios 
and Tobas to give up their intention of destroy- 
ing the colony, or rather, as the event discovered, 
to defer it till a better opportunity. During 
many days, which they passed in sight of us, 
in the same spot they had at first occupied, they 
daily explored the adjacent pastures, plains, 
and woods ; not one of the few Abipones that 
remained at home presuming* to offer the least 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



335 



opposition, though perfectly aware of their 
dangerous intentions. Meantime, though sus- 
pected of treachery, they revelled like Bac- 
chanals at our expense ; oxen being at my 
orders slain on purpose for them, lest, on 
failure of other food, ourselves should be 
devoured by these cannibals. A fortunate 
event at length delivered us from these hateful 
guests, and freed us from continual anxiety 
and suspicion. About sun-set, the whole plain 
resounded with a sudden tumult, no one doubted 
but that the enemies were approaching ; and I 
myself believed we should be presently attack- 
ed by a vast company of Mocobios and Tobas, 
of which those that had stayed so long with us 
were only the spies and forerunners. But this 
was a false alarm ; for when the dust, which 
had concealed them from us, dispersed itself, 
we discovered ten of our Abipones, who were 
bringing about two thousand horses which 
they had plundered from Ychoalay's estate, to 
revenge the death of one of their countrymen 
who had fallen by his hand in a recent skirmish. 
The Cacique of the Mocobios, seeing so large a 
booty, doubted not but that the owner was 
pursuing the plunderers, and fearful that by 
remaining he should be involved in the conflict 
with Ychoalay, and drawn into a participation of 
the danger, hastened home next morning as 



j.i'i*'' 






336 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



i 



soon as it was light. The ill-will that he bore 
towards us was manifested by his parting 
speech to the Abiponian women : " If," said he, 
" you value your lives, your liberties, and your 
children, desert this colony forthwith. The 
land you occupy is not your own, nor will we 
suffer you to usurp it. It will be stained with 
your blood, unless you depart voluntarily." 
This first visit of the Mocobios and Tobas was 
a prelude and preparation to that grand expe- 
dition which these savages, in conjunction with 
the Oaekakalots, undertook, some months after, 
to the destruction of our colony. Of this 
subject we shall treat more fully after having 
made some premises. 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



337 



CHAPTER XL. 

SMALL-POX THE ORIGIN OF MANY CALAMITIES AND 
BLOODY ATTACKS. 

When all the Mocobios and most of the Tobas 
were departed, Keebetavalkin, the Cacique of 
the latter, remained some months with us, till 
he died of the small-pox, after having received 
baptism from me ; a circumstance which stirred 
up the Toba nation against us, and was the 
occasion of my receiving a bloody wound. I 
shall give the particulars of the whole affair. 
Our Abipones had caught the small-pox in 
Fulgentio's estate, and on their return to the 
colony infected all the other inhabitants, except- 
ing only those who had already undergone that 
disease: and it may be looked upon as a great 
blessing that a disorder, generally fatal to the 
Americans, proved so in this case to only twenty 
out of nearly three hundred who took the 
infection, though it raged from the 14th of May, 
till November. What trouble it occasioned 
me, who was obliged to perform the double part 
of physician and priest, exceeds belief. Nearly 
all my Abipones were still in a state of barba- 
rism—either alien to the rites of the church, or 

VOL. III. Z 




338 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 




■ 




impious deserters and despisers of them. Hence 
day and night I was filled with anxiety, that if 
the medicines 1 administered failed to prevent 
death, I might at least, by sacred rites, endow 
the souls of my patients with a blessed immor- 
tality; a matter of infinite art and difficulty. 
For, alarmed at the death of an old woman, 
the first that fell victim to the disease, all but 
a very few fled from the colony, vainly endea- 
vouring to preserve their lives in remote 
recesses. Some crossed the Rio Grande, 
travelled to a distance of twenty leagues, and 
left to themselves, destitute of all aid and 
medicine, every one recovered. I was thus 
separated from most part of the colonists, being 
ignorant of their place of concealment, and 
consequently unable to approach them without 
guides, which were not to be procured. Some 
were only four leagues distance from the colony; 
the followers of Oahari only one ; and these 
two hordes I was daily obliged to visit, with 
extreme difficulty, on account of the rivers and 
marshes that were to be crossed, and imminent 
danger from wild beasts, and wandering savages. 
To provide both for the minds and bodies of 
these wretches, I had to administer their food 
and medicine with my own hands, and to 
explain to them the heads of religion, that they 
might be in a fit state for baptism, to receive 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



339 



which, it was only with the utmost difficulty 
that they could be persuaded, entertaining a 
notion, common to all savages, of its causing 
death. To recall apostates to repentance who 
had repudiated their legitimate wives, and 
abjured religion, was a still more arduous 
busmess. Yet to show you how powerfully the 
compassion of God was exerted on this occa- 
sion, none of them departed this life without 
receiving baptism, except one woman, who, 
when first attacked by the disorder, resisted 
my exhortations that she would undergo that 
ceremony, denying that she was in any imme- 
diate danger. Having found, from experience, 
that the fatal period of this disorder amongst 
the Abipones was not in its rise, but in its pro- 
gress, I thought proper to yield to the entreaties 
of both husband and wife, and returned home 
in the firm determination of soon re-visiting my 
patient. But, alas ! scarce a quarter of an hour 
had elapsed, when, to my great sorrow, I heard 
that she had suddenly expired. My grief, 
however, was consoled by a sort of hope that 
1 entertained of her eternal salvation, founded 
upon her having been previously fortified by 
religious virtues, detestation 6f sin, and a 
resolution to receive baptism whenever she felt 
her life in danger ; all which, if sincere, enabled 

z 2 



340 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



me to draw happy presages for her from the 
boundless compassion of God. 
, Whilst fatigued with continual attendance 
upon the sick, I was frequently harassed with 
anxiety respecting the preservation of the 
colony. Daily reports were spread of the 
approach of the enemy, and evident marks dis- 
covered of their ambuscades, which, however, 
our vigilance always rendered nugatory. That 
above all was a memorable day to me, when, at 
the very time that an assault was hourly ex- 
pected, a messenger came from the distant horde 
of the Cacique, announcing that an Abiponian 
woman, ill of the small-pox, had been two days 
in dangerous labour. For a little while I 
hesitated what to do. "Left," thought I, 
"without a defender, the house and sacred 
utensils will be seized upon by the enemy ; I 
myself, if I go out into the country, shall perhaps 
be surprized and murdered by them, and in 
that case the Abipones will be destitute of all 
religious aid. Yet if I remain at home, the 
mother and her offspring will probably perish 
without baptism." Religious considerations at 
length induced me to despise the uncertain 
rumour of a hostile attack, for the sake of avert- 
ing present and certain danger from the woman 
and her offspring, and I set off accordingly on 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



341 



foot aiid unarmed. A herb whipli, at my 
advice, was administered to the woman in 
labour, proved efficacious beyond my hopes 
for whilst I was visiting the tents of the sick, 
she was happily delivered of a living child 
marked with the small-pox, which I was deter- 
mined upon baptizing immediately, though the 
grandmother furiously opposed my design. 
*' What," vociferated she, *'will you destroy 
the infant as soon as it sees the light with 
those destructive waters ?" Finding her cla- 
mours of no avail, she ran to the father, a son 
of Debayakaikin, who was lying in a tent hard 
by covered with mats, to defend him from the 
cold, as if he had just been delivered of a child, 
and implored him to prevent me from accom- 
plishing my intent ; but, more sensible than the 
rest, he replied that the will of the Father must 
be acquiesced in. Disappointed of the support 
she had expected from her son-in-law, the old 
woman was very near assaulting me tooth and 
nail ; but being appeased by my gentle words 
and expostulations, she recovered her temper, 
and on my promising that the child should not 
be buried in the chapel in case of its death, 
declared that she would no longer oppose my 
design. The child ceased to live the same day 
that it received new birth at the sacred font : 
the mother recovered. This shows what a 

z 3 



W^\ 



lii!!\ : 



342 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



prejudice the Abipones have againstbeing buried 
within the sacred walls, and under a roof. Not 
one of the Abipones who died of the small-pox, 
would have consented to receive baptism, had I 
not appointed a burying-place in a wood for the 
dead at the beginning of the contagion. This 
I did in imitation of the Guaranies, who have 
cemeteries walled round, and adorned with an 
elegant chapel, and long rows of orange and 
citron trees, solely for the reception of those 
who die of the small-pox, lest the vapours 
arising from their bodies should prove a fresh 
source of contagion. To provide against this 
in our colony, I placed the cemetery in that 
direction from which the wind blew seldomest. 
The trouble and anxiety that I underwent in 
continual attendance on the sick, during seven 
months, may easier be imagined than described. 
The principal and most numerous horde, that 
of the Cacique Oahari, which I was daily obliged 
to visit, could not be reached without crossing 
a river, both shores of which were marshy. 
As it was a matter of much time and labour to 
extricate the horses from this mud, I generally 
performed the journey on foot, speedily rowing 
myself over in a boat. This daily habit of 
walking, during a period of many months, 
rendered my feet so horny, that I was often 
obliged to cut pieces of skin from the soles of 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



343 



them with a pair of scissars : for the leathern 
leggings which we wore to defend us from 
gnats and other insects, though extremely con- 
venient in riding, used to rub and gall the feet 
of pedestrians, especially when they were hard- 
ened with perspiration. How often have I had 
to travel amid rain and thunder, or beneath the 
scorching heat of the sun, through an extensive 
plain, afflicted with gnats, mud, and the snares 
of wandering savages, that no good office might 
be wanting to the wretched crowd of dying 
Abipones, for whose sake I loved to undergo 
danger and fatigue ! 

Often, at this period, so great a number were 
confined to their beds by the disease, that 
those in health were scarce sufficient to take 
care of the sick, to bury the dead, and to mourn 
for them with the usual ceremonies. No one's 
death afforded greater cause for lamentation 
than that of the wife of Oahari, and daughter of 
Debayakaikin ; a woman in the flower of her 
age, distinguished for high birth, and second to 
none in elegance of person and sweetness of 
manners. A few years before, having been 
dangerously bitten by a serpent, she had 
received baptism in the town of Concepcion. 
I, for my part, ascribed the death of this 
excellent woman not so much to the small-pox, 
as to a crowd of juggler- physicians, by whom 

z4 






344 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



she was always surrounded, whenever I visited 
her tent to prepare her for death by religious 
aid. 

Keebetavalkin, Cacique of the Tobas, and 
chief of all the physicians in Chaco, for some 
time companion of the Abipones and Mocobios, 
in the towns of St. Jeronymo and St. Xavier, 
but generally a wanderer, and now a spy- 
upon our affairs in the name of his country- 
men, spent two months amongst us with his 
wife and daughters. Not one of my people 
was attacked with the small-pox but he had 
this savage jEsculapius to suck and blow him ; 
till from being continually in contact with the 
sick, he at length imbibed the deadly poison 
himself, being now at an advanced age. The 
sick man took care to be frequently removed 
from one situation to another, in the hope 
of relief, as dying persons in our country are 
wont to do. When on the point of death, 
he desired to be placed in a little wood near the 
colony ; a hut was accordingly constructed 
for him in that place, of the boughs of trees, 
but so low that I could not converse with 
him, as he was lying down, without stooping. 
There being no longer any room to doubt 
of his extreme danger, after he had been 
properly instructed and prepared, I baptized 
him in the early part of the night, and he 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



345 



expired next day some hours before noon. 
The ferocious Tobas, when informed of the 
baptism and death of their Cacique, accused 
me, who had administered the one, of being 
the cause of the other, and resolved to avenge 
him by arms, as I had openly foretold before 
we were made acquainted with the intention 
of the Tobas ; for I knew that to these stupid 
savages baptism appeared more destructive 
than small-pox, or the most subtle poison. 
The affair was not confined to threats alone: 
a few days after, the revengeful Tobas drove 
away more than five hundred horses from our 
pastures, in the dead of the night, and would 
doubtless have slain some of our people had 
an opportunity off'ered. Our Abipones, com- 
plaining of this loss of horses, flew to Asump- 
cion, and besought the Governor to allow 
some Spanish horse to sally forth with them 
for the purpose of chastizing the plunderers; 
and their entreaties seemed almost needless, 
in requesting what had long been the Gover- 
nor's own desire. From what we shall relate 
hereafter, you will find the small-pox to have 
been the occasion of mutual incursions and 
slaughters, and of the shedding of my blood. 



^1 'fj 



346 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XLI. 



•] 



FOUR HUNDRED SPANISH HORSEMEN, IN CONJUNCTION 
WITH THE ABIPONES, OVERCOME A NUMEROUS HORDE 
OF TOBAS. 

The Governor, Joseph Martinez Fontez, being 
laid up with a fit of the apoplexy, appointed 
Fulgentio de Yegros, an illiterate, but brave 
and intelligent man, to the government of the 
province, during the period of his indisposition. 
Congratulating himself upon this opportunity of 
conducting a successful enterprize, Fulgentio 
flew to our colony, accompanied by four hun- 
dred horse, in the design of undertaking a 
joint expedition with the Abipones against the 
Tobas, long so hostile to the whole province. 
After some days' journey, as no signs appeared 
of any hostile settlements, the Spaniards began 
to think of a return, alleging the difficulties 
of the road, the scarcity of provisions, and the 
weariness of their horses ; but this unseason- 
able and inglorious design was openly con- 
demned by the Abipones, who were possessed 
with a greater thirst for battle and revenge. 
Their scouts, by means of the print of horses' 
feet, at length discovered a populous horde of 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



347 



Tobas, to which there was no access but by a 
narrow path through a surrounding wood. 
Every thing was put in readiness for the 
assault, and, as the event of momentous aifairs 
is often, as Livy says, determined in a moment, 
the Governor resolved, with the approbation 
of the Abipones, to attack the savages next 
day about dawn, whilst they were sleeping, or 
half asleep, that they might be circumvented 
before they were aware of the enemy's approach. 
But as some Abipones, who had been sent 
forward to take a nearer view of the enemy's 
station, were so much retarded by the rugged- 
ness of the way, that they did not return to 
the Spaniards till midnight; and as the great 
forest which intervened could only be crossed 
by the horsemen at a leisurely pace ; the assault 
was not made till the middle of the day, and 
then with less than the anticipated success : for, 
most of the inhabitants being engaged in the 
chase at a distance from home, and there being 
consequently few to oppose the assailants, and 
none but a helpless crowd of women, children, 
and old men to be vanquished and taken 
captive, the fight was attended with some 
advantage, but with very little difficulty or 
glory. Terrified at the sudden attack of the 
Spaniards, their eyes and ears assaulted by 
the blaze and thundering sound of the muskets. 





348 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



these wretches preferred flight to resistance. 
Many were intercepted and slain in their dis- 
orderly retreat by the pursuing foe ; the rest 
endeavoured to preserve their lives in the 
forest; but as the Abipones examined all 
the recesses of the woods like hounds, very 
few of the Tobas escaped their eyes and 
hands, some being deprived of life, others of 
liberty. 

The Spaniards, with great justice, attributed 
the whole success of this expedition to the Abi- 
pones, by whose sagacity the settlements of 
the savages had at first been discovered, and by 
whose celerity great numbers were prevented 
from escaping. I never could learn the exact 
number of persons that fell that day, but the 
captives of every description amounted to forty, 
mostly taken by the Abipones, who obtained 
besides a booty of an immense drove of horses 
belonging to the enemy. The Spanish soldiers, 
though they terrified all the savages by the 
firing of their muskets in this sudden attack, 
were able to wound but very few of them, 
owing to the circumstance of their having 
passed the preceding night, in order to be in 
readiness for pursuing their journey, on horse- 
back amongst the trees ; in which situation the 
gunpowder was moistened by the nocturnal dew, 
so that it was with the utmost difficulty that it 



HISTOUY OF THE ABIPONES. 



349 



could be afterwards made to take fire. An old 

Toba, who had been wounded by a bullet, 

drove on his family before him, defending them 

with an uplifted spear, till he had very nearly 

reached the border of the wood, without 

any of the Spaniards daring to oppose him; 

but he and his people were cut to pieces by 

our Cacique Oahari, with a sword which he 

snatched from a Spaniard as it lay idle in its 

sheath. The wife and two daughters of the 

Cacique Keebetavalkin were slain in the same 

manner. Not one of the Spaniards was killed, 

or even hurt, in this chase, rather than battle. 

Many of them were present only to increase 

the number of soldiers, and to be spectators of 

the assault. 

A Spanish boy, who had been carried away 
from Paraguay by the Tobas in his infancy, 
was set at liberty on this occasion. It is 
incredible how great was his abhorrence of his 
countrymen the Spaniards^ whom he had ever 
considered as enemies; he was neither to be 
conciliated by gifts nor caresses. A Spanish 
woman, who was released from captivity amongst 
the Tobas, informed the Governor that there 
was a very numerous horde of Tobas, scarce 
two days' journey from that place; but he, 
disregarding the wishes of the Abipones, who 
urged him to attack it, alleged the weariness 



-Li 





350 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



of the horses and scarcity of provisions as 
excuses for hastening his return, and deferring 
the attack upon that horde till another time ; 
but that time never came. All the sensible 
Spaniards v^ere indignant at the Governor's 
letting slip this long v^ished for opportunity of 
destroying, or at any rate chastising the 
atrocious nation of Tobas, v^hose daily business 
and delight it for so many years had been to 
cut the throats of the Spaniards. They thought 
that the society of the Abipones, who were of 
so much service in seeking out and fighting the 
enemy, might not hereafter be obtained without 
great difficulty ; and that many would perhaps 
atone with their blood for one man's fault in 
neglecting such fair opportunities of victory. 

Whilst the Abipones were absent on this 
expedition, the defence of the colony entirely 
devolved upon me, a charge in the performance 
of which I underwent much trouble and anxiety ; 
for the neighbouring Mocobios, learning from 
their spies that none but the women and 
children remained at home with me, repeatedly 
approached us for mischievous purposes. But 
as I never ceased watching, day and night, 
with unremitting vigilance, their insidious 
attempts never succeeded but once, when they 
carried off a number of excellent horses from 
the pastures where they had been left to feed 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



351 



by the Spanish soldiers, the persons appointed 
to guard them being asleep at the time. The 
head of the plunderers was a certain Mocobio, 
who had deserted religion and a town life, and 
was second to none in rapacity and cunning. 
By day he used to converse familiarly with the 
Spaniards appointed to guard the cattle, as he 
understood their language, and to take his 
dinner with them: but one night he suddenly 
went oiF with his companions who were lurking 
hard by, and carried away a number of choice 
horses. After fourteen days' journey our 
heroes returned, leading in triumph a miserable 
crowd of captives whom they exhibited as 
trophies, and testimonials of their valour. But 
for my part I judged a victory stained with the 
blood of so many helpless women and girls 
more worthy of sorrow than of applause, know- 
ing that it would certainly be atoned for by 
that of myself, or my people, and that the 
surviving Tobas would never allow the death 
or captivity of their wives, mothers, or children 
to go unrevenged; in which opinion all the 
Spaniards coincided, firmly believing that cer- 
tain danger threatened the colony from those 
enraged savages. But the Governor, hastening 
to the city, evinced how little he had our safety 
at heart, when he left such a scanty band as 
we were, exposed to a multitude of enemies. 



I'll'' I ■ ■ 

I' 




Mhi 







352 



HISTORY OF THE ABiPONES. 



breathing nothing but vengeance. After much 
entreaty, he could only be persuaded to leave 
us five Spanish guards, wretched creatures, 
entirely destitute of courage, and nearly so of 
arms. These were sent home at intervals, and 
succeeded by others, as bad, or worse ; so that 
they rather served as a laughing-stock, than as 
a protection to the Abipones. 

I must not omit to mention that the Abi- 
pones publicly, and with the utmost effrontery, 
celebrated a slaughter they had formerly com- 
mitted on the Spaniards, whose skulls they 
exhibited with songs and drinking, Fulgentio 
being present with his forces, and not daring 
to take the least exception at it. Since they 
durst do that in the face of the Governor, 
and four hundred soldiers, what respect would 
they pay to the threats or admonitions of a 
priest? 

On the same day that the Abipones returned 
from the expedition, I visited all the tents of my 
people, to see and speak with the captives, 
and if they stood in need of medicine or assist- 
ance, to afford it them without delay: for either 
the terror excited by the sudden assault of 
the Spaniards, or grief at the loss of liberty and 
their native soil, or the burning heat of the 
sun in travelling, had affected them to such a 
degree, that we thought they were certainly going 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



353 



to be seized with some disease. But I found 
them all in good health except one woman, 
the skin of whose head had been grazed by a 
bullet. As the wound was only skin-deep, 
the Spaniards laid a piece of fresh wax on 
the place, by way of a plaster, and the flies 
which infest moist places gradually bred 
worms there, which, as they occupied a dan- 
gerous part of the head, threw the woman into 
a delirium; but by the timely application of 
tiger's fat the worms were destroyed. 

A slight dispute arose between the Spaniards 
and Abipones on the subject of the captives ; 
the former, in order to draw all eyes towards 
them on their return to the city, and to be 
congratulated with the greater applause, want- 
ed to take both the captive youths and the 
Toba women out of the hands of the Abipones, 
and to adorn themselves, like the daw, with 
borrowed plumes; on the other hand, the 
Abipones obstinately maintained that what 
they themselves had taken with the danger of 
their lives, was their own property ; but were 
induced, by a settled compensation, or liberal 
promises, to cede a very few of the Tobas to 
the Spaniards, the rest of the captives being 
retained in the colony. I did not look upon 
myself as authorized to decide this controversy, 
but silently hoped that none of the captives 



VOL. III. 



A A 



354 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



would remain v^^ith us, foreseeing that their 
presence would prove highly prejudicial to 
our colony. As we had no place for confining 
the captives, and as they enjoyed equal liberty 
of wandering with the rest, they every one 
escaped whilst their masters were absent or 
asleep. Some of the older Tobas returned 
honie with stolen horses, and having become 
well acquainted with the whole of our neigh- 
bourhood, frequently returned to harass and 
plunder the colony. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



355 



CHAPTER XLII. 



ANXIETY OF THE ABIPONES CONCERNING THE REVENGE 
OF THE TOBAS. CONTAGION OF THE TERTIAN SEVER. 

My Abipones, late the conquerors of the To- 
bas, were not ignorant that their vanquished 
enemies observed the same rule as themselves 
in revenging injuries, and that victories were 
often succeeded by bloody slaughters. That 
they might not, therefore, be surprized by a 
sudden incursion of the Tobas, whom they had 
recently provoked, they diligently fortified their 
tents by the erection of temporary fences. But 
as fear deems no protection sufficient, they 
dreamt, even at mid-day, of enemies, snares, 
and attacks. A certain species of beetle, hum- 
ming at an unlucky moment, was taken for a 
spy belonging to the enemy. No place nor 
time was free from danger and anxiety to the 
Abipones. Moreover, the female jugglers, whose 
predictions the savages think it a crime to dis- 
credit, used falsely to affirm that the enemies 
were approaching, and their divinations being 
frequently confirmed by Indians going to and fro, 
the Abipones often passed the day, and still 

A A 2 - 



III 



111'! 



356 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



oftener the night, in arms, expecting every in- 
stant the assault of the Tobas. 

To this continual trepidation was added the 
contagion of the tertian fever, which raged in- 
discriminately, for a length of time, amongst 
persons of either sex, and of every age. Being 
forced to attend upon the sick day and night, I 
was at length seized with the disorder myself; 
but whereas the rest only suffered from it every 
third day, I, on the contrary, was afflicted with 
alternate fits of heat and cold for many hours 
every evening ; a period at which none but my- 
self felt the slightest degree of fever. The 
disease grew so violent, that my head became 
delirious at night, my body was inflamed with 
heat, my tongue grew black as a coal, and my 
languid feet consisted of nothing but skin and 
bone ; it was long before I could walk without 
leaning on a crutch, so greatly was my strength 
exhausted ; in a word, I looked like a breathing 
carcass. The Indians, who daily crowded to 
see me, exclaimed all together, with tears in 
their eyes, " You are going to die, Father! 
you are going to die !" I certainly seemed at 
no great distance from the grave, my disorder 
daily increasing, and myself destitute of phy- 
sician, medicine, proper food, wine, bread, 
sugar, every thing in short necessary to revive 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



357 



and strengthen me. The very sight of the hard 
dry beef, my only fare at other times, created 
disgust in my languid stomach : maize ground 
and boiled, if it could be procured of the In- 
dians at any price, 1 accounted a luxury, find- 
ing it of great service in cooling me and quench- 
ing my burning thirst. Moreover, I made 
daily use of a plant, in Spanish called ver- 
dologa, in Latin, portidaca, which, boiled in 
water, afforded me great relief: it has small, 
bright, green leaves, growing on a reddish stalk, 
which creeps along the ground, and seasoned 
with oil and vinegar is an excellent substitute 
for lettuce. 

My worst and most intolerable grievance 
was, that the people assembled together almost 
every night, exclaiming with doleful yells, that 
the sanguinary Tobas were at hand, and impe- 
riously calling upon me to arise for the defence 
of the colony, whilst I was burning with fever 
and totally helpless. Unable to stand on my 
feet, I was sometimes obliged to keep watch, 
sitting at the door of my hut, and leaning upon 
a gun, to relieve the fears of this faint-hearted 
crew, who placed more confidence in one mus- 
ket than in an hundred spears. I was alive, 
but hardly conscious of my existence. At 
length, when the violence of the fever abated, 
and the use of my senses, though not of my 

A A 3 



358 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



limbs, was restored to me, I often crept through 
the tents of the sick, leaning on the arms of 
others, that no dying person might expire with- 
out religious consolation. Rapidly growing 
worse and worse, destitute of priest, physician, 
soldier, or guard, I was in daily expectation of 
death ; but whether I was to receive it from the 
enemies' weapons, or the pertinacity of the 
fever, which lasted seven-and-twenty days, I 
remained in uncertainty, though well prepared 
for either, thinking death preferable to a life 
spent in such a manner. Fulgentio, to whom I 
wrote an account of the calamitous state of our 
affairs, returned for answer that neither priest 
nor soldiers could be sent us till after Easter. 
I suppose the good man was unwilling to de- 
prive any Spaniard of the opportunity of be- 
holding spectacles, or hearing sermons wherein 
the memory of our Saviour's sufferings were re- 
vived ; yet the Governor would have given 
greater proofs of piety and prudence, had he, 
without taking account of those ceremonies, 
immediately dispatched a priest to me, who was 
dying, and a soldier to the colony, which was 
exposed to so much danger. On reading Ful- 
gentio's letter, I cast away all hope of human 
aid, and confidently waited for the assistance of 
Heaven, which I at length obtained, and by 
which alone I was preserved. The continual 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



359 



fever being mitigated at the end of seven-and- 
twenty days, and converted into a tertian, my 
strength slowly returned, and on Palm Sunday 
I ministered again at the altar, though in dan- 
ger of fainting every moment, from the extreme 
weakness of my head and feet. 

Eight days after Easter, a priest of our order 
came from Asumpcion, accompanied by twelve 
soldiers. This man had been ordered to take 
upon himself the care of the colony in case he 
found me dead ; if I was still sick, to act in my 
stead, while I sailed to the city. He was 
as much rejoiced at my being still alive, as I 
was at his arrival ; for he dreaded to remain 
amongst the savages, to whom he was unac- 
customed, having till then been always em- 
ployed as lecturer on philosophy or theology. 
The continual reports concerning the approach 
of the cruel Tobas, the repeated noise of war 
trumpets, the sudden concourse of trembling 
women, the tormenting swarms of fleas and 
gnats, the wretchedness of his habitation, the 
heat of the air, and the noxious vapours arising 
from adjacent marshes, rendered his life in- 
tolerable ; though he had come furnished with 
fresh bread, with wine, and other liquors, to 
nourish or refresh the body, and had even 
brought water with him, which I was always 
obliged to take from a stagnant pool. That he 

A 7V 4 



360 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



might not, therefore, be necessitated to remain 
here whilst I returned to Asumpcion, it is incre- 
dible with how liberal a hand he daily dispensed 
from his stores whatever was calculated to re- 
fresh and strengthen me. Accustomed to the 
Indians, and to misery, I had as great an abhor- 
rence of the city, as he had of the wretched and 
turbulent colony ; so that at the end of eight 
days he was at liberty to return with most of the 
soldiers, a few only being reserved to watch in 
the colony. Scarce had he reached home when 
he was seized with a fit of sickness, which 
confined him to his bed for some months. 
If eight days' stay was sufficient to lay him 
prostrate, though he wanted no comfort, you 
cannot wonder that, after two years spent in 
extreme indigence and amidst continual dis- 
turbances, the ill state of my health obliged me 
to quit the colony. 

Bands of soldiers were sent at intervals to 
construct houses for the Abipones, who, till that 
time, for more than a year, had dwelt under the 
mats, which they used for tents both at home 
and in travelling. On holidays, when I was 
ministering at the altar, I used to discourse 
with the soldiers to such efiect that many of 
them confessed to me the faults of their past 
life, which was rendered the more necessary 
by the perilous situation of our affairs. We 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



361 



were agitated with daily apprehensions of the 
enemy's approach. At one time it was re- 
ported that Ychoalay, provoked at repeated 
plundering of his horses, was drawing near to 
the colony ; at another, the vengeful Tobas were 
said to be coming with confederate savages. 
As no hope of tranquillity, or shadow of security 
appeared, there was not one of the Spaniards 
who did not ardently desire a speedy departure 
from the colony, and all the soldiers who were 
ordered thither by their captains thought them- 
selves condemned to the quarries, or to the oar. 
The richer and more respectable strove to 
evade the journey on pretence of business, in- 
disposition, or by some other feigned excuses ; 
hence none but the meaner soldiers, Spaniards 
only in name, attended our town, and were ra- 
ther a burden than a protection to us. Such 
were generally those who, in the beginning, 
were dispatched every month to our colony, 
both to bring us certain necessaries, and to see 
whether I was still alive. They were often pre- 
vented from reaching us from fear of the savages ; 
at other times every thing they brought was so 
spoilt with the water as to be of no possible use : 
these were frequent causes of distress in the co- 
lony. 



362 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

AN ASSAULT OF SIX HUNDRED SAVAGES ON THE SECOND 

OF AUGUST. 

Frequent thunder was at length succeeded 
by lightning. The Tobas, ever full of threats, 
and unable to forget the slaughter they had 
undergone, aimed long that they might strike 
the surer blow. Intent upon destroying the 
colony, they associated with themselves their 
friends the Mocobios, together with the Oae- 
kakalots, Lenguas, or Guaycurus. Learning 
from trusty messengers that six hundred sa- 
vages were ready to attack us, we petitioned 
for supplies from the city, and they were pro- 
mised, but never sent. The alarm being daily 
increased by the increasing evidence of the 
danger, many fled for fear to their well known 
retreats; though some returned at intervals, 
impelled by hunger, or desire to hear the news. 
I often passed many days with none but four 
Guarany families, whom I maintained in my 
own household, and some old Abiponian wo- 
men, unable either to travel or bear arms. At 
length, when we had given up all hope of suc- 
cour from the Spaniards, four soldiers crept 
to the colony, whose wretched appearance 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



363 



seemed to intimate that they had come thither 
to die, not to slay the enemy— they themselves 
declared that they had been torn from their 
beds, where they were lying sick, and forced 
upon this errand, at the command of the inexor- 
able Master of the Watch. Lorenzo Vernal, 
the captain of this miserable triad, was so dread- 
fully afflicted with gout in his limbs, that he 
could hardly lift his hand to his mouth ; of his 
companions, one had such terrible swellings in 
the groin that he walked with the greatest diffi- 
culty ; the second was in a consumption ; the 
third melancholy mad. Such were the guards 
whom the Governor sent to defend our colony 
against a multitude of savages ! 

A few days after their arrival, an Abipon, 
who had long sojourned amongst the Mocobios, 
came in the dead of the night, and informed 
Oahari that the Tobas, accompanied by troops 
of Mocobios and Lenguas, had begun their 
journey, and intended speedily to attack us. 
The Cacique, comparing his own strength with 
that of the enemy, and seeing himself destitute 
of succour from the Spaniards, and unable to 
cope with such a multitude alone, immediately 
determined on flight ; but that I might not sus- 
pect his departure to have been dictated by 
motives of fear, pretended to me that he was 
going to be absent for some days on a hunting 



li/f 



W. 



364 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



excursion. Most of the inhabitants crowding 
after him, only a few women and children re- 
mained to be slain by the enemy, only four 
men to give them battle. What other person 
that had been placed in so dangerous and diffi- 
cult a situation, would not have taken boat on 
the river, and fled to a place of greater safety ? 
Who, indeed, could have censured his flight ? 
I was well aware that the peril in which I stood 
would have excused such a measure, and de- 
tached from it every appearance of disgrace; 
but, fortified against all events, I determined 
to defend to the utmost the place committed to 
my care, lest the Spaniards should reproach 
me with cowardice, and declare me deficient in 
that native magnanimity by which the Germans 
have always been distinguished. 

I perceived that our security lay in continual 
vigilance, especially as smoke discerned at no 
great distance, and scouts discovered from our 
observatory, were manifest indications of the 
enemy's approach. The day before the assault, 
eight of our Abipones, all of tried valour, very 
opportunely returned to us in the evening : the 
colony, therefore, contained twelve fighting 
men, who, by the greatness of their courage, 
made up for the smallness of their number. 
After passing that night, as I had done many 
others, on the watch, walking up and down 





HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



365 



the court-yard of the house, at length, about 
two o'clock, I laid myself down, oppressed 
with sleep, and unable any longer to endure 
the extreme cold ; first, however, warning the 
captain to appoint a most vigilant watchman in 
my stead. The good man assured me that it 
was his intention to do so, and swore that 
he had been unable to get any sleep for many 
nights through fear of the attack. He placed 
a man in the yard to watch, who, to shelter 
himself from the cutting air, withdrew into a 
corner of the house, and there fell fast asleep. 
Whilst he, therefore, was loudly snoring, whilst 
all the inhabitants of the colony were wrapped 
in slumbers, and the dogs mute, which, at other 
times, would bark at a strange fly, about four 
o'clock above six hundred savage horsemen 
drew near with cautious steps, and in the pro- 
foundest silence, by the light of the full moon. 
In the first attack the savages carried off, with- 
out opposition, sixty ploughing oxen which I 
had confined in stalls near my house. Part of 
them besieged the houses of the Abipones, that, 
being engaged in the defence of their property, 
they might not be able to come and assist me. 
The rest of the savages, leaving their horses at 
the border of a neighbouring wood, surrounded 
the paling of ray house, and filled the court- 
yard with a shower of arrows. The soldiers. 



i 



366 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOXES, 



awakened at last by the screams of the women, 
who were flying to the palisado, instead of in- 
stantly discharging the cannon, and all the 
muskets at hand, upon the assailants, stupidly 
wasted time in collecting their luggage, and 
after they had deposited this trash in a place of 
safety, the captain comes, with a snail's pace, 
to awaken me, and, after much circumlocution, 
announces that we are surrounded bv enemies, 
with just as much composure as if he had only 
been wishing me good day. When the captain 
perceived that I had armed myself and left the 
apartment, he fired his musket, but hit no one; 
for where he stood he could neither see the 
enemy, nor be seen by them. Spying the 
smoking musket directed towards the moon, 
which appeared right above my house, '' What 
injury have you received from the moon, good 
man," said I, '' that you are firino- at herT He 
however, not a little elated at his muskets 
having made so unusually loud and ready a 
report, said pompously to one of his com- 
panions, " Come, brother, do you discharg-e 
your musket also :" but this soldier, a remark- 
able tall lean man, betook himself to a corner 
of the house, shaking in every limb, like a per- 
son in a fit of the ague. 

I cannot pretend to denv that I was not 
alarmed myself at the arrival of the enemy. 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



367 



which was rather sudden than unforeseen ; but 
the very magnitude of the danger inspired me 
with a degree of courage, which, at this day, 
I cannot regard without astonishment. As in 
desperate diseases, violent medicines are some- 
times hazarded, I, in like manner, made the 
rashest attempts, since scarcely any hope re- 
mained that destruction could be avoided. 
Trusting, by this means, to preserve the lives 
of the rest, I exposed myself to as many deaths 
as enemies' weapons. I ran towards the sa- 
vage host, aiming a musket in a threatening 
manner, and as I went along the ground was 
strewed v/ith arrows which rattled under my 
feet. The savages, ranged in a triple row, 
stuck to the palisade like flies, and were de- 
fended by its thick and lofty stakes, through 
the interstices of which they were able to shoot 
arrows at us, but could hardly be reached by 
our bullets ; on which account I did not think 
it advisable merely to fire the musket, thinking 
that if they heard the report, and saw none of 
their companions fall, they would cease to fear, 
and boldly quit the palisade. I, therefore, 
walked straight towards the paling, intending 
to take a more certain aim at the savages with 
four pistols, and a gun, to which a bayonet was 
prefixed. But an unlucky accident discon- 
certed this fine scheme ; for when I was about 



368 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



ten steps off the palisade, and was just going to 
fire, an arrow an ell and a half long, made of 
the hardest wood, and barbed with five hooks, 
pierced the shoulder of my right arm, wounded 
a muscle by which the middle finger is moved, 
and stuck fixed in my side. On receiving this 
wound, I took hold of my musket with my left 
hand, and entered the house, that the captain, 
who was lying hid there, might pull out the 
arrow; and in order to do this, he twisted it 
quickly round and round with his hands, just as 
you mill chocolate, by which the flesh was 
sufiiciently torn to open a way for the hooks 
to be taken out. What torture this caused 
me, no one that has not felt the same himself 
can possibly imagine. 

The arrow being extracted, I returned to the 
place where I had received the wound, to keep 
the savages from the palisade ; for though my 
right arm was covered with blood, and totally 
useless, the left was sufficient to handle the 
pistols with ; but great was my surprize and 
self-congratulation to find that the enemies had 
all retired to a great distance from the stakes. 
These American heroes, terrified at sight of 
the musket which I presented when within ten 
steps of them, hastily departed without waiting 
for my return. The rest of the savages, who 
had attacked the houses of the colony, were 






HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



369 



likewise repulsed, after a long and bloody 
conflict, by a few Abipones ; who, having 
delivered their own habitations, flew to render 
me what assistance they could. One of them 
exclaimed, when he saw me streaming with 
blood, '* We will not suffer this wound to go 
unrevenged. Father !" Another^ seeing that the 
enemy had retreated from the palisado, and were 
mounting their horses, shot an arrow from the 
court-yard with such good fortune, that it pierced 
deep into the breast of a Toba: the wretch, 
wounded by this unforeseen weapon, threw 
away his bow and arrows, and was supported 
on horseback by a person sitting behind him. 
' As the event of this foot conflict had proved 
so contrary to the wishes of the savages, they 
all mounted their horses, re-entered their ranks, 
and occupied the whole way between the pali- 
sade, and the houses of the Abipones. That 
they might not attempt to proceed any farther, 
I burst into the market-place, with the Abipon 
who had wounded the Toba, carrying a musket 
in his hand. Do not expect to hear of a field 
smoking with blood, and bestrown with dead 
bodies ; that was not at all my wish. My only 
intention was to put these dangerous intruders 
to flight, and my only anxiety to prevent our 
being all crushed under their horses' feet. You 
will laugh to hear how one man can holdout 

VOL. III. B B 



»;•) 






370 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



against six hundred horsemen in Paraguay* 
No sooner had the gunpowder lighted by the 
Abipon thundered from the musket, than, 
startled by the sulphureous smoke, or perhaps 
somewhat touched by the shot, they all 
quitted their ranks, and fled precipitately with 
a horrid outcry, overturning rather than turn- 
ing their horses, and almost forcing them back- 
wards by the violence with which they pulled 
the bridle. They paused for a while in a neigh- 
bouring grove, which they reckoned secure, 
and ranged themselves afresh in form of battle, 
designing first, to entice me to pursue them, 
and then, by means of forty of their companions, 
who were concealed beneath the sloping bank 
of a lake in the vicinity, to intercept, surround, 
and slay me. Being apprized of this ambus- 
cade by a watchman stationed in the court- 
yard of the house, I loaded the musket again, 
and stood with my Achates, the Abipon, on a 
little neighbouring hill, from whence I could 
observe the farthest motions of the enemy, and 
defend the chapel, and the houses of the Abi- 
pones, by which I was protected on every side 
from the assault of the inimical troop. The 
savages, beholding the musket, the sound of 
which still rang in their ears, were afraid to 
renew the attack. That they might not, how- 
ever, appear to have done nothing, and return 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



371 



home empty-handed, since an opportunity of 
committing slaughter was denied them, they 
began to turn their attention towards plunder, 
and three hundred being dismissed to collect 
the horses of the Abipones, which were feeding 
on the remote shores of the river, an equal 
number remained to keep us at bay. The 
horsemen surrounded the colony at a distance, 
in the form of a semicircle, remaining perfectly 
silent and quiet, and keeping their eyes con- 
stantly fixed upon the musket. The allied 
company, as they consisted of three different 
nations, were distinguished by feathers of va- 
rious colours hanging from their spears. A 
band of Abipones kept guard to repel the 
enemy if they should venture an attack. I was 
as anxious to preserve the situation I had 
chosen, as the savages were to maintain theirs. 
Mutual fear imposed a truce of some hours on 
us both ; we dreading the multitude of ene- 
mies, — they the musket. At two o'clock in 
the afternoon, the plunderers triumphantly re- 
turned, bringing a booty of at least two thou- 
sand horses, to display which they passed on at 
a distance, in sight of the colony, but beyond 
the reach of my weapon. Though greatly 
distressed at the loss of their horses, my Abi- 
pones saluted the plunderers with festive drum- 
ming and joyful vociferation, exulting that 

B B 2 



H>!:i.','l 



372 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



they who had come with a design of carrying off 
men, had been forced to content themselves with 
beasts. After besieging us for some time, the 
savages joined their companions, nor was their 
retreat disorderly. By order of the Caciques, 
two companies preceded the drove of horse, as 
many followed it, and the rest went on each 
side. As usual they burnt all the dry grass 
they could find in the plain, that their coun- 
trymen might be apprized of their return from 
afar, by means of the smoke. They halted on 
the borders of a lake a few leagues distant from 
the colony, and there feasted sumptuously on 
our oxen, as appeared next day from the bones 
they had left. 

Although the enemies were out of sight, my 
labours were not yet at an end, and after hav- 
ing been fatigued with riding, watching, giving 
orders, and shedding a quantity of blood from 
four o'clock in the morning till two in the after- 
noon, I laid aside my arms for a while, and 
applied my mind to healing. Whilst an arrow 
was extracted from an Abipon, who had been 
wounded in defending his house from the be- 
siegers, the broken point stuck deep in the 
flesh, and I was called upon by the screams of 
his wife to apply whatever remedy I judged 
proper. Having performed this charitable 
duty, I at length got time to attend to my own 
cure, to bathe the wound, which had been in- 




HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



373 



flicted ten hours before, with hot wme, and to 
bind it up. My hand streamed continually 
with perspiration ; from which it may be con- 
cluded that wooden arrows contain a sort of 
poison. In consequence of losing such a quan- 
tity of blood, I was tormented with a burning 
thirst, which the largest draughts of water 
failed to appease. I do not remember to have 
tasted a morsel of food the whole day. The 
pain of my wound, which received hourly 
augmentation, became perfectly intolerable at 
night, when I could discover no comfortable 
position in which to place my arm. A pillow 
laid underneath it afforded me some relief. 
The muscle, or more properly, the tendon of 
the muscle which moves the little finger, had 
been so dreadfully lacerated, that it swelled 
like a rope, but was completely cured, at the 
end of sixteen days, by the nightly application 
of melted hen's fat. The swelling in the muscle 
subsided, but I did not recover the use of the 
finger, which was moved by it, for five months ; 
at the end of which it was healed by a balsam 
administered by a famous druggist in the town 
of the Holy Apostles. Even at this day I bear 
about me a scar, the witness of a signal wound, 
the monument of my contempt of death, and 
defence of the colony, and a constant memorial 
of beloved Paraguay. . 

B b3 



374 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 



COROLLARY TO THE EVENTS DETAILED IN THE 
PRECEDING CHAPTER. 

No one will deny that my Abipones performed 
wonders, beyond all expectation, and even be- 
lief, when it is considered that twelve of them 
not only held out for some hours against six 
hundred savages, but even repulsed them. 
Amid such a cloud of arrows no Abipon re- 
ceived any injury but the man I mentioned, and 
a boy of twelve years old, who, being awakened 
from sleep by the neighing of the horses, and the 
shouts of the combatants, was slightly wounded 
in the leg by an arrow, as he chanced to look 
out of his tent. We concluded that many of 
the enemy had been wounded from seeing two 
here and there seated on the same horse, and 
because breastplates of hard antas' skins were 
found next day in the plain covered with blood, 
and pierced with weapons. An Abiponian 
youth, who had been stationed in a secure 
place, bravely defended a flock of our sheep, 
which the enemy made frequent attempts to 
carry off, by continually shooting arrows, and 
succeeded in preserving it untouched. Fain 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



375 



would I bestow some commendation on those 
four noble Spanish guards ; but, alas ! no sign 
of bravery or dexterity could I discover in 
either of them : one discharged his musket at 
the moon, and another did not even know how 
to load his, for he put the ball in first, and then 
the gunpowder, so that the one prevented the 
other from catching fire. Other instances of 
stupidity, which I observed in their comrades' 
method of handling their arms, I have neither 
time nor inclination to commemorate. Block- 
heads of this kind were sent us by the captains 
for the defence of the colonies, whilst the more 
skilful, the more active, those in short that 
alone deserved the name of Spaniards, were 
left at home to increase their property. 

On the same day which was rendered so 
memorable by the assault of the Tobas, when 
we thought ourselves out of danger, ten savage 
horsemen, issuing from a neighbouring wood 
about sun-set, presented themselves to our 
sight, but quickly disappeared. The general 
opinion was that they were spies, and this gave 
us occasion to suspect that the enemies were 
lurking disguised in ambush, in the intent of 
returning at night to surprize us. The unusual 
and universal barking of the dogs, during the 
whole night, confirmed our fears. To ascertain 
whether any of the enemy were lying in wait, 

B B 4 



376 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 




I armed myself at ten o'clock at night, and 
traversed the whole neighbourhood, the plain, 
the wood, and the shores of the adjacent lake, 
followed by the four Spaniards. Having exa- 
mined every place in the vicinity, I became 
more tranquil, and wrote an account to the 
Governor at Asumpcion of the state of our 
affairs. With my letter I sent, wrapped up' 
in my bloody shirt sleeve, the arrow which 
had wounded me; a trophy of the religious 
obedience which had fixed me to this perilous 
colony. The arrow and the sleeve stained 
with my blood attracted all eyes in the me- 
tropolis, and were honourably preserved as 
monuments. The Spaniards judged of the 
wound, and of my danger, partly from the 
accounts of the Abiponian messengers, partly 
from the size of the barbed arrow ; and, as re- 
port usually swells in its progress, my acquaint- 
ance mourned me as dead, and offered the sa- 
crifice of the host for my atonement. Others, 
knowing me to be still alive, honoured me with 
the title of Confessor of the Lord ; as my 
administering baptism to the Cacique of the 
Tobas was the occasion of my receiving the 
wound. The report of the assault and defence 
of the colony was spread in the metropolis with 
great augmentations, when those four soldiers, 
who had partaken of the danger, and been 
spectators of the whole conflict, arrived. They 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



377 



declared upon their honour that we were 
attacked by eight hundred savages, more 
terrible to behold than hobgoblins; they ex- 
tolled to the skies the bravery of the Abiponian 
defendants, who were so few in comparison 
with the enemy ; and they openly declared that 
their own safety and that of the rest was; 
principally owing to me, who had dared to 
approach within ten steps of the savages, and 
to contend with them so long in the open plain. 
But I always gratefully acknowledged, that, 
being destitute of all human aid in repulsing 
the savages, we were preserved in our extreme 
danger by divine assistance. ; 

Though the assailants were departed, the 
minds of the inhabitants were far from being 
in a state of tranquillity. Next day, the 
market-place resounded with the screams of 
women, lamenting their husbands and sons, 
who had gone out under pretext of hunt- 
ing, as slain by the confederate savages : but 
their speedy return to the colony dissipated 
the alarm excited by this false report. Our; 
joy for their safety was equalled by their grief 
at hearing how many excellent horses had been; 
carried off by the enemy. To indemnify 
themselves, however, for the loss, was a matter 
of little time and trouble ; for, by a dexterous 
yse of twenty horses, given them by their. 



378 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



friend Oaherkaikin, and of many others 
which they had used on their journey, they 
soon after took a drove of four hundred from 
the Mocobios, which subsequently proved the 
means of acquiring still more. In the course 
of a few months, such was the abundance of 
horses in the colony, it seemed impossible that 
any could have been lost. 

The Governor Fulgentio, who had been in- 
formed by me of the danger of the colony, at 
length appointed ten regular soldiers for the 
defence of it ; but as men of this description 
are always slow in their obedience to orders, 
and often refuse to comply with them alto- 
gether, they landed with us two days after the 
hostile incursion that I have related took place. 
I was greatly rejoiced at the arrival of the 
Spaniards, as it secured me from being left 
alone should fear again induce the inhabitants 
to desert the town; for fresh assaults were 
shortly to be apprehended, the Tobas being 
neither appeased nor satisfied with plundering 
horses, since they had been disappointed of an 
opportunity of slaying their owners. They 
resolved upon a fresh incursion, repeatedly 
exclaiming, that blood could only be repaid 
by blood ; which being conveyed to our ears 
by good authority, we were under the necessity 
of watching day and night. The women. 






HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



379 



dreading the cruelty of the minacious Tobas, 
sought security in the remotest lurking places, 
and persuaded their sons and husbands to 
accompany them thither; so that in a few- 
weeks the little town was stripped of inhabi- 
tants. The Governor continually promised to 
go out against the Tobas for the purpose of 
revenging the blood I had shed, but he did not 
stand to his word till six months after ; mean- 
time the hordes of Tobas had removed to more 
distant places : in consequence of this long 
delay, the joint expedition of the Spaniards 
and Abipones, though attended with an amazing 
deal of inconvenience, proved totally fruitless, 
the Tobas remaining undiscovered, and reckon- 
ing this vain journey of the Spaniards amongst 
their victories. 

Amidst these continual tumults, no time was 
left for the instruction of the Abipones, nor the 
faintest hope of success in the attempt. En- 
grossed by the pursuits of war and the chase, 
they had neither time nor inclination for re- 
ligious duties, and though in the evening most 
of the young women and boys assembled in 
the chapel to learn from me the rudiments of 
the faith, very few, and often none of the male 
adults appeared there. No industry or elo- 
quence seemed sufficient to abolish their drink- 
ing-parties and superstitious ceremonials. It 



380 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



was with the utmost difficulty that I could 
prevail upon them to receive baptism, even at 
the point of death. They often refused to obey 
me when I advised any wholesome ordinances, 
tending either to the security of the colony, or 
the welfare of individuals. Hence, when the 
Governor desired to be informed, by letter, of 
the number of inhabitants, that by exhibiting 
this testimonial he might procure me the usual 
Missionaries' pension from the master of the 
royal treasury ; I replied to him in these words : 
" I should not dare to demand the annual 
pension which his Catholic Majesty has destined 
for the support of the Missionaries; for this 
colony is not composed of catechumens, but of 
eyiergumens : but the stipend paid to the King's 
soldiers I assert to be my undoubted right, 
and I verily believe that there is no captain or 
lieutenant in this province who would be 
induced, by any emolument whatsoever, to pass 
even one month amidst the perpetual dangers, 
watchings, labours, and miseries, which I have 
daily undergone during a period of two years, 
in defending this situation against the savages." 
These things I told the Go vernor with the greatest 
sincerity; but let it be known that I never 
received a single penny from the royal treasury, 
either in the character of missionary or of 
soldier. Hence originated the uncommon indi- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



381 



gehce of this colony : for the money which the 
piety of the King had appropriated to the 
support of the Missionaries, was the chief, and 
almost the only source from which we used to 
purchase the sacred utensils, the instruments of 
iron, and other necessaries for clothing- and 
remunerating the Indians. 
' Worn out by two years' afflictions, labours, 
and cares; frequently tormented by the gout; 
and deprived of the use of my middle finger; I 
requested the Provincial to substitute another 
priest in my place. At length, at the end of 
three months, Joseph Brigniel, a veteran 
Missionary of the Abipones and Guaranies, 
accompanied by Father Jeronymo Rejon, was 
appointed my successor. Both of them, though 
they had come from the city plentifully furnish- 
ed with small gifts to gain the good-will of the 
inhabitants, and with things pertaining to 
domestic use, were daily called upon for the 
exertion of their patience, finding the Abipones 
little tractable, the Mocobios and Tobas ever 
hostile. These latter, not to mention other 
instances, invaded the colony whilst Brigniel 
was performing divine service ; on which occa- 
sion an old Guarany shepherd was killed in the 
country, and Oahari, amongst several others, 
received a deep wound in battle. This Cacique 
died soon after of the deadly bite of a serpent. 



:■ 



382 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES, 



t- 



Though of mean extraction, he was famous for 
military deeds ; politic, intrepid, courteous to 
his own countrymen, and formidable to stran- 
gers ; qualities which gained him the title of 
Cacique, and the celebrated names, first of 
Revachigi, afterwards of Oahari. Though 
scarcely more than thirty years of age, he had 
rendered his name already illustrious, being 
superior to most of the Abipones in dignity and 
beauty of person, in dexterity in horsemanship 
and the handling of weapons, in contempt of 
danger, and in greatness of mind. He was 
always well-disposed towards me, and attentive 
to my admonitions, except that, from too great a 
desire to gratify his countrymen, he suffered 
himself to be hurried into vices, which they 
indeed account virtues, and was restrained 
from laying any commands or prohibitions on 
his people by the consideration that the title of 
Cacique did not belong to him by hereditary 
right, but had been conferred by the free votes 
of the people, and consequently was a very 
precarious honour. In one respect, he was 
more fortunate than the Caciques Debayakaikin, 
Ychamenraikin, and Alaykin, who, though old 
inhabitants of our colonies, died in battle with- 
out having received baptism ; whereas he, of his 
own accord, desired to undergo the ceremony, 
when he found himself at the point of death. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



383 



Joseph Brigniel, though long accustomed to 
the Abipones, thought the ferocity of the in- 
habitants, the perpetual incursions or threats 
of the enemy, and the wretchedness of the place 
itself, quite intolerable; and indeed, not many 
months after, he had a dangerous and obstinate 
fit of sickness. He told many of his friends 
in letters that he could not conceive how I had 
been able to remain for two years in so 
calamitous, turbulent, and perilous a situation ; 
and in one addressed to the Governor declared 
that the preservation of this colony was, under 
God, to be attributed to my patience, vigilance, 
and industry. I should have forborn to men- 
tion this honest encomium, were it not to 
refute the calumnies of certain individuals, 
who, never having performed any praiseworthy 
actions themselves, are impelled by envy or 
malice secretly to detract from the good deeds 
of others, when those who might convict them 
of falsehood are far away. Let me now proceed 
to relate my departure from the colony. 

The decaying and shattered bark in which 
my successor Brigniel had come, served to 
convey me up the river Paraguay, in company 
with a few soldiers, to the city of Asumpcion. 
We performed a voyage of seventy leagues in 
eight days, using both oars and sails. The 
night before we reached port, a furious tempest 



384 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



drove us against a very lofty bank, the height 
of which we at length gained by means of 
planks stuck into the ground, and supported by 
the vessel. Sitting in the fields, we had for 
some hours to endure a storm of rain and loud 
thunder, and though completely drenched, 
esteemed ourselves fortunate in having escaped 
being swallowed up by the waves, or struck 
dead by lightning. As the soldiers were gone, 
and the sailors forced to remain to look after 
the skiff, I set off on foot and alone, unless you 
call rain, wind, and thunder my companions ; 
and after travelling through a country swollen 
with torrents, reached the metropolis a little 
before noon. The kindness of my former 
associates in our college, who all ran to embrace 
me, effaced from my mind the perils of the 
voyage, and the distress of the preceding night. 
I went to the Governor, and told him as a friend 
what measures he ought to pursue for the 
preservation of the colony and the Fathers, and 
for the coercion of the savages. The good man 
acquiesced in my counsels, promised much, 
and performed almost nothing: for, from letters 
written to me subsequently by Father Brigniel, 
I understood that affairs continued in the same 
state as before my departure, or rather that they 
grew worse and worse. 
-My strength being somewhat repaired,, it 



HISTOilY OF THE ABIPONES, 



385 



was thought advisable for me to pursue my 
journey to the Guarany towns, where I might 
be entirely restored to health. Antonio Mi- 
randa, rector of the college, a man of plain 
manners, and a hater of flattery, said to me, 
just as I was going to mount my horse; " You 
have had more to endure in two years, in the 
situation you have just quitted, than others go 
through during many years in other colonies." 
The rector also desired me to defer my journey 
for a while, and to act instead of the Jesuit 
priest, who was absent on business, in the estate 
of our college, called Paraguay, and twenty 
leagues distant from Asumpcion. This place 
stretches out on one side into a pleasant plain* 
affording pasture to a vast quantity of cattle ; 
on the other, where it looks towards the south, 
it is surrounded by hills and rocks ; in one of 
which a cross piled up of three large stones 
is visited, and held in great veneration by 
the natives for the sake of St. Thomas; for 
they believe, and firmly maintain, that the 
Apostle, seated on these stones as on a chair, 
formerly preached to the assembled Indians. 
Having executed my commission here, I pursued 
my journey on horseback, accompanied by a 
few Negroes ; for the shores of the Tebiguary, 
which we crossed in a boat, are thought ex- 
tremely dangerous for travellers. On Christ- 

VOL. III. c c 



'i fH 



386 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOXES. 



mas-eve, I reached the towns of the Guaranies, 
and after travelling so many hundred leagues 
by water and land, laboured sedulously, the 
first days of my arrival, both in the pulpit, and 
the confessional chair. The tranquillity of 
those places, proper diet, and the prescriptions 
of Norbert Ziulak, a famous physician and 
apothecary, within a few weeks restored me so 
completely to health, that seeing myself capable 
of undertaking another journey of an hundred 
and forty leagues, I returned in Lent to the 
town of St. Joachim, at the earnest request of 
its magistrate, and with the permission of the 
Corregidor of the Indian towns. Amongst the 
Ytatinguas, the inhabitants of this town, with 
whom I had formerly lived six years, I now spent 
two more with much satisfaction. Here, indeed, 
my labours were great, but they were pleasant^ 
being crowned with abundant success ; I would 
that they had been lasting ! But in two years 
I was recalled from this town, and sent back to 
Europe with my associates, by order of the 
king. The banishment of the shepherds was 
the destruction of the poor little sheep ; and 
the Abipones, leaving their towns, began anew 
to cut the throats of the Spaniards. A Jesuit 
who sailed to Europe a year later than the 
rest, told me, at Vienna, that all the Abipones 
had deserted the town of St. Joachim, where 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



^387 



I had left two thousand and seventeen Chris- 
tians on my departure, and that the neighbour- 
ing town of St. Stanislaus, which had formerly 
contained two thousand three hundred neo- 
phytes, was entirely destitute of inhabitants. 
Some secular priests, as well as monks, were 
indeed put in place of the Jesuits, but they 
were all such as disliked the Indians, or were 
disliked by them, having undertaken the care 
of the towns, not spontaneously as we did, 
but by compulsion. Some came weeping, as 
I myself witnessed ; others, weary of dwelling 
ever so short awhile amongst the indigent and 
formidable Indians, fell sick, or feigned to do so, 
that they might be permitted to return. How 
much could I write on this subject! but it is 
better to be silent. Time will discover things^ 
which, though perfectly true, cannot with pro- 
priety be inserted in books. 



,^:l Ml, 



c c2 



388 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



CHAPTER XLV. 



How ARDUOUS A TASK IT IS TO PERSUADE THE ABI- 
PONES TO ENTER COLONIES, AND TO EMBRACE THE 
RELIGION OF CHRIST. 

Having given a plain and faithful description 
of the superstitious rites of the Abipones, of 
their native vices, ferocious temper, and wars 
both domestic and foreign, I appeal to the judg- 
ment of my reader whether it be not a business 
of more time and labour to transform these sa- 
vages into Christians, than to carve a Mercury- 
out of a solid block, and whether it be due sub- 
ject of wonder, that such astonishing efforts on 
the part of the Jesuits should be attended with so 
little success; which however was by no means 
despicable, if the difficulties of the undertaking 
be properly appreciated. I shall now clearly 
state, for your consideration, in what these dif- 
ficulties consisted, and why it was so arduous a 
task to instruct the equestrian savages in civili- 
zation and Christian discipline. 

Ever wandering, ever abroad, the Abipones 
from childhood were unaccustomed to home, 
and to remaining in any one fixed place. 
Wherever the hope of booty, the necessity of 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



389 



hunting, or danger of the enemy called them, 
thither they went on swift horses, subject to no 
authority which could either prohibit their de- 
parture, or enforce their speedy return; for the 
obedience which they paid their Caciques was 
entirely spontaneous. They thought it insuf- 
ferable to depend on the will of another within 
the narrow limits of a colony, and to be confined 
to their houses, like a snail to its shell. Though 
free to range up and down the nearer plains 
and woods at pleasure, they found them, from 
being frequented by other hordes, despoiled of 
those fruits and wild animals to the use of which 
they had so long been accustomed, that, if de- 
prived of them, even when plentifully supplied 
with better food, they complained of being 
starved and miserable. While they lived un- 
controlled, like the birds which fly up and down, 
liberal nature spontaneously offered them food 
without need of agriculture : but as all things 
are not produced in all soils,othey were con- 
stantly under the necessity of migrating from 
place to place, and this change of abode, and 
variety of hunting, seemed to contain a sort of 
charm for them. 

In each of the colonies beef was distributed 
amongst the inhabitants at stated hours of al- 
most every day; but by reason of the poverty of 

c c 3 



390 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the pastures it was often lean, often insufficient, 
and sometimes (which however happened but 
seldom) there was none at all : for where could 
the Missionary get beef if he wanted oxen, and 
if the Spaniards were as slow and niggardly in 
supplying the colonies of the savages, as they 
had been forward in founding them? They 
were extremely solicitous that the Abipones and 
Mocobios should be tamed like wild beasts, and 
guarded in the towns from slaying the Spaniards, 
but took very little care to prevent them from 
dying of hunger. In the towns of St. Jeronymo 
and St. Ferdinand, the estates were sometimes 
reduced to such a wretched condition that, 
having nothing left for their support, the Abi- 
pones with their families were forced to go out 
into the neighbouring plains for the sake of 
hunting. After they had been two or three 
months absent, the fields which our entreaties 
had prevailed with them to plough, were co- 
vered with tare,'* or browsed on by beasts, and 
the loss of the expected harvest induced a ne- 
cessity either of roving or starving ; a very 
pernicious alternative : for in repeated wander- 
ings, often of many weeks, civilization and the 
knowledge of the rudiments of religion, so labo- 
riously instilled into them, were forgotten, and 
they gradually relapsed into their former bar- 
barism. The deficiency of sheep and oxen was 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



391 



certainly the chief cause which retarded the 
progress of Christianity in these colonie?. If, 
according to St. Paul, amongst other nations 
faith enters by the ear, with the savages of Pa- 
raguay it can only be thrust in by the mouth. 
Hence our anxiety lest cattle should fail us; 
hence our grief to find that they could so seldom 
be obtained or preserved. 

This scarcity of sheep and kine originated 
sometimes in the niggardliness of the Spaniards, 
sometimes in the gluttony of the Abipones, 
who, not content with the ordinary portion of 
meat awarded to all, often slew oxen, and still 
oftener young cows and calves, without our 
knowledge or consent, for their own private eat- 
ing. If we detected and reprehended them, 
saying that the estate would be drained by 
these secret depredations, "That is no concern 
of your's. Father," they would reply; " the 
Spaniards must send more; they promised to 
do so when, at their request, and for their con- 
venience, we entered this colony. If they fail 
to perform their promises, we are also freed from 
our engagements, and shall return to our old way 
of putting them to death." Providently reserv- 
ing the cows for breed, we ordered that none but 
the superfluous bulls or steers should be taken 
to the shambles; but the Indians, careless of the 
future, wanted to eat the young heifers because 

c c 4 



392 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



they were fatter : " When bulls bring forth/' 
said I, " the cows shall be killed." This re- 
fusal affronted them very much, and they threat- 
ened to desert the colony. If the Jesuit, either 
fearing the threats of the Indians, or desirous 
of obtaining their good-will, leave the herd at 
their discretion, he will see the estate suddenly 
destitute of cattle ; if he firmly refuse to com- 
ply with their wishes, the town will be as sud- 
denly stripped of inhabitants : in the one case, 
he will be accused of prodigality, in the other 
of parsimony, so that whichever way the Mis- 
sionary acts, he is sure to incur blame — should 
he avoid Charybdis, he will hardly be able to 
escape Scylla. 

Nor is it sufficient to satisfy the Abipones in 
the article of food ; whatever they took it into 
their heads to wish for, though perhaps it could 
not be found in any shop at Amsterdam, they 
used to require at our hands, and that not in a 
supplicatory, but an imperative tone. Day and 
night they trod our threshold in crowds, and 
wearied our ears with the constant repetition of 
" Father, give me a hat, a knife, an axe, a ring, 
glass-beads, salt, tobacco, &c." If to any of their 
requests you reply, though with great mildness 
and the most perfect sincerity, that you are not 
in possession of the thing in question, they will 
rudely accuse you of stinginess and falsehood— 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



393 



nay, I have sometimes heard worse. One of the 
older Abipones, not a bad man in other respects, 
desired me, in an imperious manner, to furnish 
him with a knife ; I gently replied, that I had 
none just then, but would give him one as soon 
as the expected supply arrived from the city. 
" If I were to meet you in the field with this 
lance," rejoined he, smiling, and taking up a 
lance that was lying near, ** you would hardly 
dare to tell me that you had not a knife." These 
perpetual and unreasonable requests of the 
Abipones are not however to be wondered at. 
Poverty rendered them importunate, arrogance, 
bold. Now learn from whence this arrogance 
proceeded. They knew that they were feared 
by the Spaniards. The slaughters which they 
bad perpetrated, the terror which for many 
years they had spread throughout the whole 
province, the victories which they had gained, 
were yet fresh in their memory. They spoke of 
it as of a favour extorted from them by the 
prayers and promises of the Governors, that 
thev had laid aside arms for a while, to settle in 
a wretched colony, and insisted upon it that 
the advantages resulting from this measure 
were entirely on the side of the Spaniards. At 
every refusal which our poverty compelled us 
to make them, they complained that they were 
richer and happier whilst at enmity with the 



ii 



m 



394 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES 



Spaniards, than now that they were their friends. 
" Alas ! how senseless were our chiefs and old 
men," said the Abiponian youths, full of discon- 
tent, and panting for plunder, " in granting 
peace to the Spaniards ! Here we are forced to 
pine miserable and inglorious in this little town ; 
whereas formerly, by plundering estates, or mer- 
chants' waggons, we furnished ourselves with 
enough to last many months, more than we can 
now obtain either by entreaty or artifice." 
Mindful of former booties, they thought they 
were imposing great obligations on the Spa- 
niards when they remained quietly in a colony, 
and ceased to rob, burn, and murder, and 
looked upon every instance of liberality in their 
former adversaries as a small return for their own 
concession of peace. 

It certainly ought to be reckoned amongst 
the noble victories of our age, that the Abi- 
pones who, from the time of Charles the Fifth, 
had continued to defy the arms of the Spaniards, 
when so many other nations of Paraguay were 
put under the yoke, have at last been induced 
to enter colonies. The fruitlessness of innume- 
rable expeditions undertaken against them at 
length convinced the Spanish soldiers that the 
Abipones were an overmatch for all the force 
and cunning of the Europeans, by their craft, 
their swiftness, and above all by the situation 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



395 



of the places they occupied, the nature of which 
itself defended, and rendered them invincible; 
Their stations served for strong-holds, thick 
woods for walls, rivers and pools for fosses^ 
lofty trees for watch-towers, and the Abipones 
themselves for guards and spies. To prevent the 
possibility of their ever being utterly extermi- 
nated, they were separated into various hordes^ 
and dwelt in different places, both that they 
might mutually warn and assist one another^ 
and that, if any danger were apprehended, that 
they mightwith more certainty avoid the enemy. 
Indeed the old complaint of the Spaniards was, 
that they had more difficulty in finding the Abi- 
pones, than in conquering them when found. 
Though to-day you learn from your spies that 
they are settled in a neighbouring plain, you 
will hear to-morrow that they are removed to a 
great distance from their yesterday's residence, 
and are buried amidst woods and marshes. 
Whenever the savages have any suspicion of 
danger, they mount swift horses, hasten to 
places of greater security, and, sending scouts 
in all directions, generally disconcert the plans 
of the enemy by unremitting vigilance. I do 
not think the Abipones are much to be cen- 
sured for having delayed to enter our colonies 
so long : for whilst they live in towns, banished 
from their lurking-places, and exposed to at- 



ilil!!: 



396 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



tacks of every kind, they think they have sold 
their liberty and security, incapable of any firm 
reliance on the faith and friendship of the Spa- 
niards, which the cruelty and deceit formerly 
practised towards their ancestors have taught 
them to suspect. 

I can truly say, that my most earnest endea- 
vour was to inspire the Abipones with love and 
confidence towards the Spaniards. " Had they 
not come to Paraguay," said I, *' you would 
still be unacquainted with horses, oxen, and 
dogs, all which you take such delight in. You 
would have been obliged to creep along like 
tortoises. You could never have tasted the 
flesh of oxen, but must have subsisted entirely 
on that of wild animals. How laborious would 
you think it to hunt otters without hounds, 
which likewise by their barking prevent you 
from being surprized by the enemy in your 
sleep ! Horses, your delight, your deities, if I 
may be allowed to make use of the expression, 
your chief instruments of war, hunting, travel- 
ling, and sportive contests, have been bestowed 
on you by the Spaniards. But all this is no- 
thing in comparison with the light of divine re- 
ligion kindled for you by that people, whose 
anxiety for your happiness has led them to offer 
you teachers of Christianity brought from Eu- 
rope in their ships, and at their expense. From 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



397 



all this, it is evident what love and fidelity you 
ought to show to the Spaniards, who have con- 
ferred such benefits on you, and are so studious 
of your welfare. I do not mean to deny that 
they once turned their arms against yourselves 
and your ancestors, but you, not they, were the 
aggressors. The Spaniards will henceforward 
return love for love, if, ceasing to cherish hatred 
and suspicion towards them, you will cultivate 
their friendship by all the means in your 
power." These ideas I constantly strove to in- 
culcate into the minds of my disciples, but 
though none of them ventured openly to con- 
tradict me, they gave more credit to their eyes 
than their ears, to the deeds of the Spaniards 
than to the words of the Missionaries, and some- 
times in familiar conversation during our ab- 
sence whispered their sentiments with regard 
to the Spaniards, who, they said, attend solely to 
their own interests, and care little for the con- 
venience of the Indians ; preserve peace only so 
long as they fear war; and are most to be dread- 
ed when they speak the fairest; whose deeds 
correspond not with their words, and whose 
cpnduct is inconsistent with the law they profess 
to observe. When reproved for stealing horses 
from the estates of the Spaniards, they denied 
it to be a theft, affirming that their country was 
usurped by the Spaniards, and that whatever 



ii : '1 



I ti 



398 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



was produced there belonged of right to them. 
Your whole stock of rhetoric was exhausted be- 
fore you could eradicate these erroneous notions 
from the minds of the Indians, which, however, 
by excessive toil was at length effected ; for all 
of them knew that, unless they promised peace 
and sincere friendship to the Spaniards, they 
would never be received into our colonies, and 
have the benefit of our instructions. All the 
Indians in America intrusted to our care were 
soldiers and tributaries of the Spanish Monarch, 
not slaves of private individuals. This is to be 
understood not only of the Guaranies and Chi- 
quitos, but also of the Christian Mocobios, 
Abipones, and all the other nations which we 
civilized in Paraguay. 

But let us suppose the Abipones to have 
been prevailed upon to enter a colony, and 
accept the friendship of the Spaniards ; ye 
saints, what numerous and almost insurmount- 
able obstacles remain to be overcome in effect- 
ing their civilization ! From boyhood they had 
spent their whole time in rapine and slaughter, 
and had acquired riches, honours, and high- 
sounding names in the pursuit. How hard 
then must it have been for them to refrain their 
hands from the Spaniards, to sit down in a 
colony indigent and inglorious, to cut wood 
instead of enemies' heads, to exchange the spear 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



399 



for the axe and the plough ; with bended knees 
to learn the rudiments of religion amongst 
children ; and in some sort to become children 
themselves ! These were arduous trials to ve- 
teran warriors, who remembered the time when 
they were formidable, not to one little town 
only, but to the whole province • and though 
many of the more advanced in age gradually 
laid aside their ferocity, and conformed to the 
discipline of our colonies, we often had to ex- 
perience the truth of the apophthegm, 

Naturam expelles fared, tamen usque recurret. 

The greatest difficulties were to be encountered 
in taming the old women and the young men : 
the former, blindly attached to their ancient 
superstitions, the source of their profits, and stay 
of their authority, thought it a crime to yield up 
a tittle of the savage rites ; the latter, burning 
with the love of liberty, and disgusted with 
any sort of labour, strove by plundering horses 
to acquire renown, that they might not seem to 
have degenerated from the valour of their 
ancestors. 

They had never even heard of a benevolent 
Deity, the creator of all things, and were 
accustomed to fear and reverence the evil 
spirit, as I have shown more fully in a former 
chapter. Instructed by us they learnt to know 



400 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOXES. 



and adore the one, and to despise the other. 
All those pitiful, superstitious, absurd opinions 
which had been sucked in with their mothers' 
milk, and, heard from the mouths of old women, 
as from a Delphic tripod, had received the 
ready assent of their infancy, they were com- 
manded to look upon as ridiculous falsehoods, 
and at the same time to yield their belief to 
mysteries of religion, which surpass the com- 
prehension of the wisest. It was somewhat 
hard immediately to forego notions which had 
been sanctioned by the approbation of their 
grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and to 
embrace laws brought from a strange land, and 
every way contrary to their habits of life. 
Formerly they had been permitted to marry as 
many wives as they pleased, and to repudiate 
them in like manner whenever it suited their 
fancy. To repress such unbounded liberty by 
the perpetual marriage tie, this was the diffi- 
culty, this was the great obstacle to their 
embracing religion, and their frequent incite- 
ment to desert it. 

The custom of drinking had taken such firm 
root amongst the Abipones, that it required 
more time and labour to eradicate drunkenness 
than any other vice. They would abstain from 
slaughter and rapine, and superstitious rites; 
confine themselves to one wife ; attend divine 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



401 



worship frequently ; evince considerable in- 
dustry in tilling the fields and building houses ; 
yet after all this, it was scarcely possible to 
prevent them from assembling together, and 
intoxicating themselves with drink made of 
honey or the alfaroba. 

The pernicious examples of the Christians, 
which often meet the eyes of the Abipones, 
frequently prevent them from amending their 
conduct. Paraguay is inhabited by Spaniards, 
Portugueze, native Indians and Negroes, and 
those born from their promiscuous marriages, 
Mulatos, Mestizos, 8^x. Amid such a various 
rabble of men, it cannot be wondered at that 
many are to be found who say that they know 
God, yet deny him with their deeds, — icho, though 
they believe like Catholics, live like Gentiles, 
enemies of the cross of Christ, whose God is their 
belly. Such licence in plundering, such shame- 
less profligacy of manners, such impunity in 
slaughters and other atrocities, prevailed for a 
long time in the cities and estates, that, com- 
pared with them, the hordes of the most savage 
Indians might be called theatres of virtue, 
humanity, and chastity. These reprobates, 
either strangers or natives, infect the savages 
with the contagion of their manners, teach 
them crimes of which they were formerly 
ignorant, and prevent them from lending an 




VOL, III. 



D D 



402 



HISTORY OF THE ABIP0XE3. 



ear to the instructions of the priests, when 
they daily hear and see words and actions 
so discordant to them in the old Christians. 
Indians returned from captivity amongst 
the Spaniards, Spaniards in captivity amongst 
the Indians, stranger from the cities, sol- 
diers sent for the defence of the colonies, 
and Spanish guards appointed to take care of 
the cattle, were all certain plagues of the 
Abiponian colonies. I should never make an 
end were I to relate all I know on this subject. 
That the bad examples of the Christians 
oTcatlv retarded the progress of religion 
amongst the Abipones, cannot be controverted. 
Let the old Christians of America become 
Christians in their conduct, and the Abipones, 
Mocobios, Tobas, 3Iataguayos, Chiriguanos, in 
a word, all the Indians of Paraguay will cease 
to be savages, and will embrace the law of 
Christ. This subject was treated of in the 
pulpit before the Royal Governor, Joseph An- 
donaegui, and a noble congregation, by the 
Jesuit P. Domingo ^Muriel, a Spaniard eminent 
for sanctity and learning, afterwards master of 
theology in the academy at Cordoba, and 
author of a most useful work intituled Fasti 
Kovi Orbis, printed at Venice in the year 1776. 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



403 



CHAPTER LXVI. 

NO TRIFLING ADVANTAGES DERIVED FROM THE ABIPO- 
NIAN COLONIES, THOUGH FEWER THAN WERE EXPECTED. 

The four colonies of St. Jeronymo, Concepcion, 
St. Ferdinand, and the Rosary, were so many 
schools where the assembled nation of the Abi- 
pones were civilized and instructed in relidon. 
Spite of innumerable obstacles which had lono- 
retarded the progress of our efforts, we succeeded 
in banishing superstition and barbarism, and in 
softening their ferocious manners by apostolic 
gentleness. Those who had formerly lived like 
wild beasts on the products of plunder or the 
chase, laid aside their detestation of labour, and 
applied themselves to agriculture; they who had 
before appeared most active and skilful in plun- 
dering, became afterwards most indefatigable in 
tilling the fields, and building themselves houses. 
Ychoalay, Kevachichi, Tannerchin, and others, 
the terror of the Spaniards, and the most for- 
tunate chiefs of the whole nation, became 
diligent above the rest in ploughing and build- 
ing, on their removal to colonies, and exhorted 
their hordesmen, whom they had formerly 
encouraged in slaughtering the Spaniards, to 

D d2 



404 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



['« 




follow their example. Almost all the inhabi- 
tants of St. Jeronymo, the capital town, and 
a great number in the other three colonies, 
received baptism. Many, both of the younger 
and older men, by the innocence of their lives, 
their attention to the Christian faith, their 
reverence for the church and for images, and 
their diligence in prayer and frequent use of 
the sacraments, gave solid proofs of piety 
towards God and the Saints ; though the female 
sex always bore away the palm in the duties 
of religion. 1 have not time to relate every cir- 
cumstance tending to verify what I have just 
advanced, but it would be wrong to omit them 

all. 

Ychohake, a man distinguished by a hundred 
noxious arts, closed a life, infamous for crimes, 
by a noble death. Having long been declining, 
he desired to receive the sacrament a short 
while before his decease, and to evince his 
abhorrence of the superstitious rites of his 
nation, refused to admit any of the female 
jugglers, who usually attend the sick, into the 
house. For the same reason he desired by his 
last will that his horses and sheep might not be 
slain on his grave, according to the custom of 
the Abipones, but that they might be kept 
for the use of his little daughter. The more 
noble Indians dug his grave, at other times a 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



405 



female office, with their hands, in a place which 
they had desired us to point out in the chapel, 
and, rejecting the lamentations of the women 
and other savage ceremonies, interred him 
according to the rites of the Church of Rome. 
Ychoalay was bathed in tears, and said he had 
now no brother left. Hemakie, and many 
others, whose lives had been employed in 
robbing and murdering the Spaniards, died in 
my presence in a manner worthy of a Christian. 
An Abiponian girl, converted to Christianity, 
concealed herself for many nights in a wood 
frequented by tigers and serpents, to avoid 
being forced into a marriage with Pazonoirin, a 
bitter enemy to religion. Intemperance in 
drinking began to decrease ; polygamy and 
divorce were no longer generally practised ; and 
the savage custom of killing their unborn babes 
was at length condemned by the mothers 
themselves. Many chose rather to endure the 
want of things which could hardly be dispensed 
with, than obtain them by arts to which they 
had long been familiarized, but which were 
forbidden by the divine law. 

It is an undeniable fact that these colonies, 
in which the Abipones were confined like wild 
beasts in cages, were highly advantageous to all 
Paraguay. By means of them security was 
restored to the public roads, through which 

D D 3 



406 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



merchants were in the habit of passing; and 
fresh estates were able to be founded and 
enriched with additions of cattle in places 
which had long been deserted for fear of the . 
Abipones. By them too, the other savages, 
the Tobas, Mocobios, and Guaycurus, were 
prevented from continuing their usual inroads 
into the lands of the Spaniards, who were thus 
enabled to repose in safety and tranquillity in 
the bosom of peace, whilst we were keeping 
watch amongst the Abipones, and often expo- 
sing our lives to danger. I do not deny that 
many deserted their colonies, took up arms 
again, and, renewing their predatory excursions, 
plundered droves of horses from the undefended 
estates; but, as Ihave observed elsewhere, that 
was entirely the fault of the Spaniards them- 
selves, who left none but women at home, 
having called out all the men to make war 
upon those seven Guarany towns, which, 
according to treaty, were to be delivered np 
to the Portugueze. 

It is also most certain that many of the 
Abipones, after dwelling for years amongst us, 
still continued to reject baptism and religious 
instruction, and though blameless in other 
respects, obstinately adhered to their old 
customs. This grieved, but did not greatly 
surprize us : for were either the Jews, the 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



407 



Greeks, or the Romans immediately convinced 
by the Apostles who taught the law of Christ? 
Were the temples and the synagogues over- 
thrown in a few years ? No ; that was a work 
of ages, perfected by the toils and blood of 
numbers, and we have not yet reached the goal. 
Alas! how small a portion of the globe has 
sworn allegiance to Jesus Christ; numbers 
without number still observing the law of 
Moses, of Mahomet, of Confucius, of Nature ; 
others even paying worship to idols ! An aged 
oak, with roots deep fixed in the ground, is not 
felled at one blow. To eradicate the ridicu- 
lous superstitions of the Abipones, their habits 
of wandering and of plunder, confirmed by the 
example of their ancestors, and become as it 
were a second nature, appeared to many a 
business of infinite labour, and almost desperate 
success: for experience shows that the eques- 
trian savages are harder to be civilized than 
the pedestrian tribes : their inveterate habit of 
roaming about the whole province, and com- 
mitting depredations, is a sweet poison, which 
insinuates itself deep into the very marrow, and is 
with difficulty expelled. So thought St. Xavier, 
who, though he left no stone unturned to con- 
vert the neighbouring nations of Asia, and even 
the remote Chinese and Japonese, to Christi- 
anity, never attempted to instruct the Badajas, 

D D 4 



ill 



408 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPOXES. 



an equestrian tribe in the bordering kingdom of 
Narsinga, or Bisnagur, foreseeing that in such 
an expedition he should lose the labour which, 
with greater and more certain success, he ex- 
pended on other nations. 

Notwithstanding the hardness and obstinacy 
of the equestrian nations, they were by no 
means to be neglected by the Apostolic labour- 
ers of Paraguay, as their conversion and civili- 
zation were of the greatest importance to the 
safety and tranquillity of the whole province. 
But many artifices must be made use of by 
those who have to instruct or deal with them 
in any way. They must he advised, admo- 
nished, and corrected, with singular mildness, 
and some indulgence ; with them the maxim 
festina knth should be put in practice, lest pre- 
mature fervour and severity should suddenly 
destroy the hopes of future fruits. You will 
alarm the savages who have but just quitted 
the woods, and make them fly you, if, burning 
with the spirit of Elijah, you imprudently strive 
to abolish their rude, barbarous manners, and 
conform them exactly to the rule of Christian 
discipline, at the first trial. But though indul- 
gence v/as always our aim, we did not think 
proper to connive at any thing contrary to reli- 
gion, or injurious to others, which it was in our 
power to prevent. To procure immortal life 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



409 



for dying infants, we often incurred danger of 
death from the opposing savages, who would 
rush upon us with spears, fooHshly imagining 
that the ceremony of baptism accelerated dis- 
solution. Even now I tremble at the remem- 
brance of that night when Father Brigniel 
hastened to baptize an infant which he under- 
stood to be at the point of death, I accompany- 
ing him, and carrying the torch. Cacique 
Lichinrain, the father of the child, could be 
induced by no entreaties, threats, or expostula- 
tions, to suffer his little son to be baptized; 
which as he was endeavouring to effect against 
the will of the Cacique, the furious Kevachichi 
laid hands on him, and pulled him back, the 
rest of the by-standers expressing great indig- 
nation, and threatening us with every thing 
that was dreadful. The Cacique held his 
almost expiring son tight with both arms, and 
covered him all over with his clothes, so that 
he was entirely concealed. We, therefore, 
returned home without accomplishing our pur- 
pose : the infant, however, soon after recover- 
ing, put an end to our grief. How often, sur- 
rounded by swords and arrows, have we flown 
to prevent a crowd of drunken Abipones from 
rushing to mutual wounds and slaughter! If you 
read the annals of either India, you would be 
convinced that the Jesuits, who instructed the sa- 



410 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



'vages in the divine law, must have united apos- 
tolic severity v^ith mild indulgence, whenever 
they had to contend for the glory of God, and 
for integrity of conduct. Above all admira- 
tion, and almost beyond belief, are the ex- 
amples of magnanimity which the men of our 
order, employed in taming the ferocious na- 
tions of Paraguay, have left to posterity. What 
has not been endured and attempted for the 
love of God, by Roque Gonzalez, Barsena, 
Boroa, Ortega, Mendoza, Ruyz de Montoya, 
Mazzeta, Cataldino, Diaztaiio, Lorenzana, Ro- 
mero, Yegros, Zea, Castanares, Machoni, Stro- 
bel, Andreu, Brigniel, Nusdorffer, Cardiel, 
Fons, and their numerous imitators, many of 
whom ended an Apostolic life with a bloody 
and honourable death ! I shall here subjoin a 
list of the names of those who were slain by the 
savages, or on their account, at various times 
and places. As I have not at hand the most 
approved historians of Paraguay, Father Nico- 
las del Techo, Doctor Francisco Xarque, and 
Pedro Lozano, who have given an accurate 
account of all these matters, I may perhaps 
omit some who deserve to be enrolled in this 
class of brave men ; but I will faithfully record 
the names of all those who are mentioned in 
my notes. 

P. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz, born in 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



411 



the city of Asumpcion ; P. Alonzo Rodriguez, 
and P. Juan de Castillo, killed by the Guara- 
nies in Caaro, in the year 1628, Nov. 15th. 

P. Christoval de Mendoza, (who is said to 
have baptized ninety-five thousand Indians,) 
slain by the savage Guaranies in Tapfe, in the 
year 1635, April 26. By the same savages, 
and at the same time, three hundred lately 
baptized infants v^ere killed and devoured in 
the town of Jesus and Maria. 

Fathers Gaspar Osorio, and Antonio Ripario, 
killed by the Chiriguanos, in the year 1639, 
April 1. 

P. Diego Alfaro, shot by the Brazilian Ma- 
malukes, in the year 1639, Jan. 19. 

P. Alonzo Arias, and P. Christoval de Are- 
nas, slain by the same Mamalukes, but at a 
different time and place. 

P. Pedro Romero, and Brother Mateos Fer- 
nandez, his companion, slain by the Chirigua- 
nos, in the land of Curupay, March 22d, 1645, 
for having said to the neophytes, It is not per- 
mitted you to have two wives. 

P. Espinosa, killed by the Guapal aches, in 
the way to the city of Sta. F^, whither he had 
been sent by P. Ruyz de Montoya, Superior of 
the Missions, to buy cotton for clothing the 
naked Indians. 

P. Lucas Cavallero, wounded by the Pinzo- 



412 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



casas with an arrow, and then dispatched with 
a club, Oct. 18th, 1711. 

Father Bartholomew Blende, a Fleming, and 
P. Joseph de Arce, a native of the Canaries, 
slain by the Payaguas, anno 1715. 

P. Blasio de Sylva, a native of Paraguay, 
formerly Provincial there, and P. Bartolome 
de Niebla, slain at another time by the same 
Payaguas. 

P. Antonio Solinas, a Sard, and his com- 
panion the Reverend Don Pedro Ortiz de Za- 
rate, a priest, to whose care the new colony of 
St. Raphael had been committed, slain on the 
same day by the Mocobios and Tobas, at the 
door of the church, near the river Senta. 

P. Nicolas Mascardi went out with a num- 
ber of Patagonians to seek the fabulous city De 
los Cesares, and, after an unsuccessful search, 
was slain on his return by the Poya Indians. 

Brother Alberto Romero had his head cloven 
with an axe by the Zamucos in the year 1718. 

P. Juliano Lizardi, a Biscayan, whilst minis- 
tering at the altar in the vale of Ingre, was 
dragged into a neighbouring field by the rebel- 
lious Chiriguanos, tied to a stake, and dis- 
patched with thirty-seven arrows at the town 
of Concepcion. 

P. Augustino Castariares, a native of Salta 
in Tucuman, slain with a club, as he was tra- 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



413 



veiling, by theTobas and Mataguayos, Sept. 15, 

1744. 

P. Diego Herrero, going to the Guarany 
towns, was pierced with a spear by an Abipon 
near Cordoba, Feb. 18, 1747. 

P. Francisco Ugalde, a Biscayan, killed by 
the Mataguayos with a shower of arrows, and 
burnt to ashes in the church, which was set on 
fire by the same savages with arrows headed 
with flaming tow. 

P. Antonio Guasp, a Spaniard, taken by one 
Guaria, knocked down by another with a blow 
on the forehead from a club, and slain and 
wounded all over with a sword by their Cacique 
the Mbaya Oyomadigi, in the estate of the town 
Santissimo Corazon de Jesu, amongst the Chi- 
quitos, anno 1764. 

P. Martin Xavier, a Navarrese, a relative of 
St. Francis Xavier, and P. Balthasar Sena, 
starved to death among the Guaranies. 

Father Hans Neiimann, an Austrian, from 
fatigues endured in a wretched navigation of 
some months on the river Paraguay, died at 
Asumpcion, Jan. 7, 1704. 

Brother Henrique Adamo died of a disease 
which he contracted in a journey to the Chi- 
quitos. 

- P. Lucas Rodriguez, after a long search of 
the fugitive Ytatines, amid continual showers 



414 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



and thick woods, expired shortly on his return 
home. 

P. Felix de Villa Garzia, a native of Castile, 
in a journey of some months, undertaken for 
the purpose of dicovering the same Ytatines in 
the Tarumensian woods, got an ulcer in his left 
eye, which continually streamed with blood 
and swarmed with worms, and which miserably 
tormented this pious man for many years, and 
at length put a period to his existence in the 
town of Sta. Rosa. 

P. Romano Harto, a Navarrese, was danger- 
ously wounded in the belly with two arrows by 
those Mataguayos who slew and burnt his com- 
panion Ugalde. 

Father Joseph Klein, a Bohemian, who ac- 
quitted himself admirably amongst the Abi- 
pones for twenty years, received a blow on the 
head from a young man of that nation, which 
laid him prostrate on the ground, where he lay 
for some time senseless and bathed in his own 
blood, in the town of St. Ferdinand. 

Father Martin Dobrizhoffer, whilst defending 
his own house and the chapel against six hun- 
dred savages in the town of the Rosary, had 
his right arm pierced with a barbed arrow, the 
muscle of his middle finger hurt, and one rib 
wounded by a savage Toba, at four o'clock in 



HISTORY OF THE ABTPONES. 



415 



the morning, on the 2d of August, in the year 
1765. 

All these, and many more perhaps, employed 
in establishing the religion of Christ amongst 
the various nations of Paraguay, courageously 
parted with their lives, or shed their blood in 
the cause. Happy they who were allowed to 
die for the sake of the Gospel ! We who sur- 
vived, though partakers of their toils and dan- 
gers, seemed unworthy of so noble a fate as our 
comrades in not being permitted to end our 
lives in Paraguay. The royal mandate by which 
we were ordered to return to Europe, for rea- 
sons still unknown to us, being, in the words 
of the decree, confined to the King's own breast, 
was bitterer to us than any death ; it did in 
fact hasten that of many who are at this mo- 
ment floating on the ocean, or who fell victims 
to a voyage of four, nay of five months. Out of 
some thirty Jesuits who were carried to Europe 
from the port of Buenos-Ayres, five only 
reached Cadiz half alive, not to mention many 
others who underwent the same fate in sailing 
from other countries of Asia or America. All 
well disposed persons grieved that men distin- 
guished for piety and knowledge of various 
kinds, who had rendered such signal services to 
Christianity and to America, and who had been 



416 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



apostolic fishers of savage nations, should 
become at last the prey of sea-fishes. 

I, who, though exiled from Paraguay, have 
by God's grace been preserved till now in my 
native land, derive the greatest satisfaction 
from the recollection of the toils which I en- 
countered for many years in endeavouring to 
make the Abipones and Guaranies acquainted 
with the will of God ; though my success never 
answered to my wishes, especially amongst the 
Abipones, who, like other equestrian savages, 
are of an indocile and un tractable disposition. 
Yet no one can call the labour we spent on 
them subject of regret, or the colonies useless 
in which they were placed ; for besides that by 
them tranquillity was restored to the whole 
province, many of the Abipones, infants as well 
as adults, were initiated into the rites of the 
Romish church, and brought over to peace and 
civilization. Nor can it be doubted that many 
who died ere they enjoyed the use of their 
reason, but had been baptized beforehand, were 
admitted into the society of the blest ; I also 
think that many adults who received that holy 
ablution obtained the same felicity. I am not 
acquainted with the exact number of Abipones, 
who were baptized in those four colonies. 

In the soil of the Guaranies the harvest was 
much more abundant. From the year 1610, 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



417 



till the year 1768, 702,086 Guaranies were bap- 
tized by the hands of the Jesuits, not including 
those who received baptism from men of our 
order in the ancient towns destroyed by the 
Mamalukes, most of which contained many 
thousands of Christians. About two thousand 
persons, infants as well as adults, were baptized 
by me alone. 

In the last fifty years which the Jesuits spent 
in Paraguay, 18,875 infants were sent to Heaven, 
having received baptism, and being devoid of 
reason, and consequently of sin. That you 
may not think this an exaggeration, I must tell 
you that in the year 1732 those thirty Guarany 
towns situated near the Parana and Uruguay 
contained 141,182 Christians. The repeated 
ravages of the meazles and small-pox, military 
expeditions in the Royal Camps against the 
Portugueze, tumults of war on account of the 
Guarany Reductions, bloody incursions against 
the savages, and various diseases, had so dimi- 
nished the number of inhabitants that, on our 
return to Europe, we left scarce one hundred 
thousand Guaranies, though twenty years before 
the two colonies of Ytatines, St. Joachim, and 
St. Stanislaus, each containing almost five thou- 
sand inhabitants, had been added to the thirty 
ancient towns. 

I also find it recorded in my notes that from 

VOL. III. E E 



IMIii 



418 



HISTORY OF THE ABIPONES. 



the year 1747 till the year 1766, 91,520 per- 
sons were baptized in those thirty-two Guarany 
towns. 

The ten towns of the Chiquitos in the year 
1766, contained 23,788 Indians, men and wo- 
men. All except a few catechumens, who had 
but lately quitted the woods, were excellent 
Christians, formidable to their foes, and useful 
to the Spaniards. The other colonies of various 
nations founded and governed by us in the pro- 
vince of Chaco were reckoned the same year to 
contain 5,424 Christians. I am not acquainted 
with the exact number of Christians in each of 
these colonies ; this only I know that the town 
of St. Francis Xavier supported about a thou- 
sand Christian Mocobios in the year 1766, and 
that of St. Jeronymo about eight hundred 
Christian Abipones. The town of St. Ferdi- 
nand contained no more than two hundred ; the 
rest of the inhabitants were only catechumens. 
I do not know the number of Abipones that re- 
ceived baptism in the towns of Concepcion and 
the Rosary. I have been the more diifuse in 
this enumeration in order to make you under- 
stand how much more successful the priests 
were amongst the pedestrian than amongst the 
equestrian nations, the conversion of which was 
a matter of so much more time and labour, that 
the progress of Christianity amongst the Abi- 



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